Since early April reports began circulating about the abuses of gay man living in the country of Chechnya. According to Novaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper based in Moscow, Russia, about 100 men suspected of engaging being gay or engaging in homosexual acts were detained and subjected to systematic torture. Three of those men died as a result.
The Associated Press soon corroborated Novaya Gazeta’s reporting. They conducted interviews with two Chechen men who detailed the extent of the torture they were subjected to and confirmed that similar abductions are taking place throughout the country.
Igor Yasin, a known LGBTQ activist, claimed that dissenters were being targeted for challenging these abductions that are either being carried out by, or being condoned by the Chechen government. Recently, Yasin said that five people were detained at the Prosecutor General’s Office when they brought a petition with more than 2 million signatures from Chechens concerned over the treatment of the LGBTQ community.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly dodged questions over what’s going on south of his country. That changed last week when he announced that he assured Tatyana Moskalkova,the human rights ombudswoman, that he intends to contact Chechen authorities to report on the torture of gay men in the country.
This was insufficient for Moskalkova, who asked for an official task force to investigate these abductions, tortures, and killings, particularly in Muslim-majority regions of Chechnya. Other civil rights groups are not pleased with Putin’s response either.
In a recent statement, Bert Wander, campaign director for Avaaz, a New York-based civil rights group, didn’t mince words about the state of things in Chechnya for LGBTQ people. Wander confirmed that the detention of activists known to Yasin included an associate of Avaaz, and said that these attempts by Russia to silence those championing civil rights by sticking up for the LGBTQ minority in the region will only bolster their efforts and shine a light on the terror they face in Chechnya.
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