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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 7, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 14
Gay men being tortured and murdered in Chechen prisons
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Gay men being tortured and murdered in Chechen prisons

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Detainees in Chechen prisons allege that Gay men are being tortured and murdered within the facilities.

Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, reported that detainees told them Chechen police rounded up more than 100 men suspected to be Gay and have killed at least three of them.

According to the early April report, some detainees said the men were tortured and electrocuted while they were imprisoned, and others described seeing prisoners beaten to death.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's spokesman denied the initial report, calling it 'absolute lies.' In fact, the spokesman went on to say that there are no homosexuals in the Muslim-majority region. 'You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic.'

The men who say they were detained for being Gay challenge the statement by the Chechen administration, saying they were beaten with sticks, were forced to sit on bottles, and had their hands electrocuted.

One man (who did not want to be identified by name for fear of retaliation) said he had been kept in a building where authorities were holding suspected militants who had fought in Syria and those who suspected of being in touch with jihadi fighters.

'Several times a day we were taken out and beaten,' he said. 'Their main aim was to find out your circle of contacts - in their minds if you are a suspect, then your circle of contacts are all gay. They kept our phones switched on. Any man who texts or calls is a new target.'

The man told Novaya Gazeta that his abusers 'always hit us below the waist - on the thighs, the buttocks, the loins. They said we were dogs who had no right to life.'

Another victim said one man had been arrested for possession of drugs. When authorities found pornography on his phone, they used his contacts list to 'find other homosexuals.'

According to Novaya Gazeta, some of the men caught were handed back to their families with the expectation that their family would perform an honor killing.

The arrests allegedly began after Gay rights group GayRussia.ru applied for permits for Gay pride parades, which were denied.

Kremlin-backed President Kadyrov administration is widely accused of extensive human rights violations.

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