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Chechen police deny reports of gay persecutions

16 May 2017
Ruslan Alkhanov (grozny-inform.ru)

Authorities in Chechnya have found no evidence of oppression of queer men in the republic, Russian news agency Interfax reported, quoting Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov. The Ministry also intends to sue Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper which broke the story, for ‘spreading non–fact-checked information’, he said.

‘After the publication of the article “Honour killing” in Novaya Gazeta on 1 April, I ordered an official investigation which was carried out by officers of the Operational Investigative Unit of the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic. According to its results, no objective evidence was found to substantiate the information disseminated in the media and the materials from the inspection were sent to the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Chechen Republic in order to make a procedural decision in accordance with Articles 144 and 145 of the Russian Criminal Code’, Alkhanov said.

According to Alkhanov, neither the police nor the specific telephone hotlines set up by the authorities received any calls with complaints of harassment.

In early April, Novaya Gazeta published an article revealing the mass detention and murder of suspected queer men in Chechnya by the authorities. Stories from Chechens who have since fled the republic tell of torture, and parents being summoned to kill their children. Chechen authorities have repeatedly denied the revelations, claiming that it is impossible to oppress queer men in Chechnya, as they don’t exist. The Kremlin has also denied reports of the persecutions.

[Read on OC Media: ‘Brothers, be careful. Don’t meet up in Grozny’]

Russia’s federal Investigative Committee is still investigating the claims. Novaya Gazeta handed over the names of 26 residents of Chechnya to the committee, who they claim have been targeted by the authorities based on suspicions about their sexual orientation.

[Read a Chechen perspective on the persecutions and the international isolation of Chechnya: Chechens alienated amidst gay persecutions]

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