Chechen authorities have arrested, and tortured, around 100 men, and killed three people suspected of homosexuality, according to the Russian newspaper Novaja Gazeta.
Riksförbund för sexuelt likaberättigade (the Union for Sexual Liberalisation – RFSL) in Sweden have been in contact with their Russian sister organization, who stated that the authorities arrested the men and tortured them so they would provide the names of other gays.
‘There are eyewitness accounts that describe how people were electrocuted and tortured, and how men were trapped when concrete collapsed’, said RFSL Vice Chairman, Magnus Kolsjö.
‘LGBT people are fleeing from Chechnya now after the mass arrests, torture and killings. The situation is acute’, said Ingvild Endestad,leader of Norway’s organisation for the LGBT community (FRI). FRI expects Norwegian authorities react immediately.
‘Chechens who are now being persecuted because of their sexual orientation, need protection. We expect Norway to give asylum where that is applicable’.
The first news about the situation came through on Sunday, but there were then attempts to refute it by the government of the Russian
Alvi Karimov, spokesman for Chechnya’s President, Ramzan Kadyrov, said to the Inter-fax news agency that the information can not possibly be true, as according to the authorities, there are no homosexuals in the republic.
‘You can not arrest or repress people who do not exist’, said Karimov.
‘If such people existed in Chechnya, the police wouldn’t have to worry about it, their own relatives would send them somewhere they could never return from’, said the president, who has previously provided support for ‘honour killing’ of gays.
‘The Chechen community is very gay-hostile. Those who are released after being ‘outed’ by the police, risk being subjected to ‘honour killings’.
FRI’s contacts in Chechnya have told how people who are or are believed to be gays are fair game, and how they are without any assistance or protection, said Endestad.
Martin Uggla, of the human rights organization, Östgruppen, said Chechnya is managed as a separate state within a state.
‘Kadyrov has a form of free reign to do as he likes. I do not think Putin is going to react officially’, he said.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today