By: Savannah Smith | 04-20-2017 | News
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Kremlin Denies Gays Are Being Persecuted Hitler-Style In Chechnya

The Kremlin has announced that it is standing by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's denial that gays are being brutally persecuted in his republic. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that investigators have found no evidence that would prove the reports by Novaya Gazere newspaper this month which claimed that more than 100 men suspected of homosexuality were rounded up in the Chechen republic, with a number of them being detained in Hitler-type concentration camp and brutally tortured, and that at least three of them were killed.

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Putin met with Kadyrov late Wednesday, who suggested to the Russian president in the televised portion of the said meeting that he should not believe the "provocative" reports. Peskov also shared that Kadyrov told Putin that the reports were "slanderous" and that the news has angered Chechens. Peskov said that the Chechen leader gave assurances that journalists should not feel threatened. Novaya Gazeta, however, has also reported that it fears for the safety of its journalists after threats were allegedly made during a large gathering of elders and Islamic leaders in Chechnya.

Earlier, Kadyrov's spokesman Alvi Karimov called the Novaya Gazeta report "an absolute lie", saying there were even no gay men in Chechnya to be persecuted. He said that nobody can detain or harass anyone "who is simply not present in the republic."

The Novaya Gazeta reports on the persecution of gays in Chechnya have caught the attention and interest of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and prominent international organizations, which all have urgently called on the Russian government to investigate.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke out against the reported anti-gay campaign in Chechnya early this week. Haley said in a statement that the reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association are very disturbing. She said that if those violations of human rights are true, then they can not be ignored. She also urged Chechen authorities to immediately investigate the allegations, hold anyone guilty accountable, and to take steps to avoid similar abuses in the future.

Prior to Haley, the U.S. Department of State has also urged Russia to investigate the issue.


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