A campaign to rid Chechnya of sexual
minorities has resulted in the deaths of 26 gay men, the Russian
newspaper that first broke the story has reported.
In April, Novaya Gaceta reported
that authorities in Chechnya have rounded up dozens of suspected gay
men and killed three. It has since reported that the men are being
held at six secret prisons without due process.
this week reported that the campaign has resulted in the deaths of
26 men since the start of the year.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has
denied the newspaper's claims, saying that there were no gay men in
“You cannot arrest or repress people
who just don’t exist in the republic,” Kadyrov spokesman Alvi
Karimov told Interfax news agency.
As reports circulated, Moscow said that
it would look into the claims. Russian officials said they
determined that there were “no
victims of persecution” in Chechnya.
But a recent The New York Times
story included first-hand accounts of beatings of gay men at the
hands of authorities.
“Gays in Chechnya and the North
Caucasus are in lethal danger,” Igor Kochetkov, director of the
Russian LGBT Network, told
“People whose partners are detained have every reason to believe
they will be arrested. It is very hard not to name the names under
Citing confidentiality laws, the State
Department has refused to respond to claims that the United States is
refusing to grant visas to men fleeing the country.
Chechnya is a Muslim-majority republic
of Russia that attempted to gain its independence from Moscow in the