Authorities In Chechnya Investigating Systematic Torture of Suspected Homosexuals
Investigators in the Muslim-majority Russian province of Chechnya are reportedly looking into the alleged torture of gay men held in “concentration camps” inside the region.
According to the Moscow Times, while citing theInterfaxnews agency, the investigation is centered around the alleged inhumane crimes committed against Maxim Lapunov, the only Russian man who has publically accused local police of torturing him in the Chechnya Republic last year.
“I believe there are grounds to open a criminal case and provide state protection to Maxim Lapunov,” said Russia’s human rights ombudswoman, Tatyana Moskalkova.
The state-run TASS news agency reports Moskalkova has promised to ensure the authorities properly investigate the allegations made by Lapunov.
“Moskalkova told reporters on Wednesday that she personally inspected investigative materials in the North Caucasus police department because of what she described as foot-dragging by local authorities,” reports the Moscow Times.
The investigation comes the Chechnya Republic President, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied ordering a crackdown on homosexuals. Kadyrov claimed that gays “just don’t exist in the republic.”
According to a report by Novaya Gazeta published earlier this year, the Chechen government rounded up more than 100 men who were suspected of being homosexual, and put them in “concentration camps.”
Inside the “concentration camps,” the men were allegedly forced to promise to leave Chechnya, tortured, and sometimes killed.
In May, an alleged victim who survived the “concentration camps” told France24 that the authorities would threaten the parents of gay children, tell them “Either you kill them, or we will.”
Lapunov is the only man to have come forward publically against the government. All other victims that went to the press have remained anonymous.
“Dozens of gay men are believed to have fled the Muslim-majority region in the Russian North Caucasus amid reports of a government-led crackdown,” the Moscow Times reports. “Both Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the Kremlin deny claims of any systematic suppression of gay men.”
Breitbart News reports officials of the region’s government and the top law enforcement agency, known as the Federal Security Service (FSB), have confirmed the mass detention of men who are suspected to be gay.
According to Moskalkova, the Chechen investigators recently reversed their decision to ignore the claims made by Lapunov.
“Questions were raised about finding the witnesses that Lapunov is pointing to, and who I believe haven’t yet been found because of the investigators’ insufficient activity,” Moskalkova said.
Novaya Gazeta reports that coming out as a homosexual in Chechnya is “tantamount to a death sentence,” much like in most majority-Muslim countries.
The Daily Mail notes that Islamic Law has been employed in the region.
Featured Image Via Wikimedia Commons
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