Dozens 'detained in new gay purge'
January 15, 2019 12:49 pm
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has previously claimed the reports were "made up" [Source: BBC]
Activists in Russia say there has been a new crackdown against LGBT people in Chechnya.
The Russian LGBT Network believes about 40 people have been imprisoned since December – two of whom they say have died under torture.
The group has been monitoring alleged abuses in the mainly Muslim Russian republic since 2017 when dozens of gay people were reportedly detained.
A government spokesman has dismissed their latest report as “complete lies”.
Chechnya, and its authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has consistently denied allegations of illegal detentions and human rights abuses.
In an interview with the BBC last year, Mr Kadyrov said the allegations were “an invention by foreign agents” or created by activists looking for money.
Homophobia is widespread in the highly conservative and predominantly Muslim Russian republic.
Mr Kadyrov and other government figures have repeatedly claimed Chechnya has no gay population at all.
Despite official denials, dozens have come forward and alleged they were detained and tortured by authorities because of their sexual orientation.
The reports have drawn condemnation from around the world.
What are the latest reports?
The Russian LGBT Network, an activist group, has been monitoring the situation in Chechnya and working to evacuate people from the region since reports of the crackdown emerged in 2017.
In a statement released on Monday, the group alleged a fresh wave of persecution and abuses had been unleashed in recent weeks.
They believe the latest wave was sparked by the arrest of an administrator of an online LGBT group on the social media network VKontakte.
Recent posts on the network have allegedly told LGBT people to “run away from the republic as soon as possible”, according to reports in Russian media.