Reports out of Russia on Saturday said that an official campaign against homosexuality in Chechnya has resulted in the detention of more than 100 men and that three people have been killed.
Chechen officials have been conducting a “roundup” of men ranging in age from 16 to 50, and “more men may have died in extrajudicial killings.” They’re using fake posts on social media sites where gay men look for dates to flush out suspected homosexuals.
On suspicion that they may be homosexuals, two local television reporters and religious figures were detained in the roundup. There were also reports that some people who were detained were taken back to their families, but the expectation may be that they were then killed by their families.
Claiming that there are no gay people in Chechnya, leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied the reports, calling them “lies.”
“You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” said spokesman Alvi Karimov, repeating the Russian republic’s official stance. “If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
“Anti-gay sentiment has been rising in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region where Chechnya is located after an LGBT-rights group applied for permits for gay pride parades,” reported Time. “Gay men have now started deleting their online accounts or fleeing the region.”
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