The end of Ramadan has signaled a fresh wave of crackdown against LGBT people in the Russian republic of Chechyna, according to BuzzFeed News whose staff has spoken to Russian activists who has a direct line to the gay community in Chechyna.
After the strong international condemnation following the expose in April of alleged detention and massive abuses being suffered by LGBT people from a state-led crackdown in Chechnya, nothing much has been heard about the issue since then. The assumption is the crackdown might have stopped due to international pressure, with the U.N. and influential foreign governments including the U.S. State Department have strongly spoken about the issue, and urging Russia for independent probe about the grave allegations.
Russian gay activists have reported that the detention of LGBT people has resumed in Chechyna. Igor Kochetkov of the Russia LGBT Network, the organization which is working to evacuate people targeted in the purge from the region, says they have received 10 calls reporting new detentions since the end of Ramadan on June 24. Details have yet to be shared about the new cases of detention.
Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, first reported about the alleged abuses against gay people in Chechyna and said that nearly 100 people had been kidnapped in the crackdown in April. Sources in the region said that the detentions only stopped when the news was received with a massive outcry from the international community.
The U.S. State Department had earlier issued a statement condemning the alleged abuses and urged Russia to investigate the reports of the nearly 100 LGBT people who have recently been detained, tortured, or murdered in the region of Chechnya.
Russian President Vladimir Putin for his part said he would order a federal investigation of the crackdown after he was confronted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about the issue. The Russia LGBT Network claimed in a statement in June, however, that officials were exerting efforts to derail the investigation.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his government has denied that any crackdown has taken place, claiming that Chechyna had no gay men within its borders to begin with.