Thursday, April 6, 2017

Report: Chechnya authorities arrest more than 100 gay men

From The Washington Blade:
by Maximilian Sycamore April 4, 2017

A Russian newspaper is reporting there has been a “prophylactic sweep” of men “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such” by authorities in Chechnya.

Novaya Gazeta on Saturday reported more than 100 men in the semi-autonomous Russian republic have been arrested. At least three of these arrests have reportedly resulted in murder.

“What is happening to gay men in Chechnya is a horrific violation of human rights and the rule of law,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord in a statement.

He added Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should “publicly condemn these actions.”

“The United States cannot stand idly by while innocent people are being rounded up, detained, and murdered by authorities,” said Gaylord.

The Washington Blade has reached out to the State Department for comment.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Russian government, said “the Kremlin knows” about the situation, but “it is a question of law enforcement agencies.”

“It is not the Kremlin’s agenda,” he said.

The Chechen government appears to have taken a similar stance on the situation.

“It’s impossible to persecute those who are not in the republic,” said Ali Karimov, a spokesman for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, in a statement to RIA Novosti, a Russian government news agency.

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