Novaya Gazeta threatened with 'retribution' after reporting Chechen concentration camps

by Abel Hampton April 15, 2017, 5:42
Novaya Gazeta threatened with 'retribution' after reporting Chechen concentration camps

In a statement the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Russian government "to put an end to the persecution of people perceived to be gay or bisexual", while Chechen authorities denied the reports, and spokesman for leader Ramzan Kadyrov insisted there were no gay people in Chechnya. "You can not arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic", Alvi Karimov said to Interfax.

"Of course, we are categorically opposed to any other methods of exercising influence, especially if such could pose a threat to the safety and life of journalists", the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov said.

It comes after numerous reports of gay men being kidnapped and held in prisons and makeshift concentration camps, as well as men being attacked, tortured, blackmailed and even killed for their sexuality.

Immediately after the first publication on the detentions and even the killings of people of non-traditional orientation in Chechnya, Kheda Saratova stated that Chechen law enforcement agencies and the judiciary would treat the murder of a homosexual by his relatives with understanding.

"These reports coming out of Chechnya regarding the targeted arrests and murders of gay men are appalling", said LGBT Equality Caucus Vice-Chair Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47).

"These are acts of persecution and violence on an unprecedented scale in the region, and constitute serious violations of the obligations of the Russian Federation under worldwide human rights law", the experts said.

While Novaya Gazeta has not independently, directly confirmed the existence of camps more and more gay men from Chechnya have spoken up about it. Unfortunately, the human rights abuses perpetrated by Chechen authorities and the culture of impunity that surrounds them means that these hate crimes are unlikely to ever be properly investigated or that the perpetrators will see justice.

"Sometimes they were trying to get information from me; other times they were just amusing themselves", said the man, whose name was given as Adam.

Peskov noted that the Kremlin monitors the situation and the presidential administration has received a petition from the newspaper's management. Reports have been backed up by the Human Rights Watch as well as men who have been detained, beaten, tortured or otherwise punished.

Trump told reporters this week that relations between the United States and Russian Federation are at an "all-time low".

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