Chechen authorities ready to accept apologies of gay who confessed to homosexuality

Chechen authorities ready to accept apologies of gay who confessed to homosexuality
Minister of the Chechen Republic for National Policy, Foreign Relations, Press and Information Dzhambulat Umarov Photo: Newsru.com

According to Dzhambulat Umarov, Minister of the Chechen Republic for National Policy, Foreign Relations, Press and Information, the homosexuality issue is a priori beyond the plate for all the peoples of the Caucasus.

The Chechen authorities are ready to forgive Movsan Eskerkhanov, the native of the republic, who in an interview with Time magazine opened up about his non-traditional orientation and the threat of persecution for it in Chechnya, and later apologized for his rhetoric. That said, the leadership of the Chechen Republic once again assured that the topic of homosexuality is not relevant at all to the peoples of the Caucasus.

TASS was informed about this by the Minister of the Chechen Republic for National Policy, Foreign Relations, Press and Information Dzhambulat Umarov. "The Chechen Republic treats harshly enough only obvious enemies, traitors, those people who try to harm their own people behind the back of the sick, deceived. <...> Needless to say, Eskerkhanov will be understood and felt sorry for <...> We are not cannibals, we all perfectly understand everything and do not harbor malice <...> If the Almighty accepts repentance, then why should we not accept it?" - explained the official.

Umarov also recalled that Chechnya had adopted a resolution "On the main canons of the family", which is based on the traditions and customs of the Chechen people, on the canons of Islam. In addition, the Head of the republic Ramzan Kadyrov signed the concept of spiritual and moral education of the younger generation.

According to Umarov, the homosexuality issue is a priori unacceptable for all the peoples of the Caucasus. "We never talk about these topics, they were taboo, which was dictated by a solid, fundamental patriarchy in our society."

According to the minister, the problem was attributed to Chechnya, which the republic never faced. "For such religions, which are very sensitive about the preservation of family traditions and values, the imposition of the topic of homosexuality is a time bomb, which in this particular case is directed not only against Muslims of Russia, but against (representatives of) other traditional confessions," warned Umarov.

The other day the Chechen state TV and radio company Grozny published on its Instagram an announcement of a "sensational investigation" about how "the Western media took advantage of" Eskerkhanov. A day earlier, Grozny publicized a story in which the young man told for camera that the journalists of The Time had intended to disgrace the Chechens. He added that the journalists had promised to help him with obtaining documents for permanent residence in Germany.

"They inflicted shame on me before the Chechen people and the Chechen ruler, they set me up. In light of this, I apologize to the residents of Chechnya, the leadership of Chechnya, Chechens living in the North Caucasus and Europe," the young man said.

Eskerkhanov's interview with Time magazine appeared in late September. In it, the young man who had immigrated to Germany several years ago, spoke about his fate and called on other Chechen representatives of the LGBT community not to be afraid of anyone, including the authorities of the republic.

"If I were sent to Russia, they would take me to Chechnya and just kill me. Even though I might not be alive tomorrow, I want to save these people. I can say the words of parting to other gays as well: you must not be afraid, you must continue to live," - said Eskerkhanov in the interview.

In October, a resident of Omsk, Maxim Lapunov, who moved to live in Grozny two years ago, filed an application with the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation on the persecution of gays in Chechnya. After this, the young man publicly described at a press conference how he had been tortured and forced to record a video, in which he had had to confess to unconventional sexual orientation. Tatyana Moskalkova, the human rights ombudsman in Russia, stated that the Omsk resident should be given state protection and a criminal case should be filed against his offenders.

The issue of crackdown on gays in Chechnya began to be widely discussed after Novaya Gazeta reported this spring 2017 about the harassment and murder of homosexuals in this Caucasian republic. After that, Chechnya repeatedly and at all levels - from local human rights defenders to the leadership - denied the very fact of the existence of gays in the republic.

Moskalkova went to Chechnya in mid-September to sort out the fate of the alleged victims of extrajudicial executions. Upon her return, the ombudsman reported that 18 criminal cases have been initiated in the country on disappearance of citizens. She confirmed the death of three people and the natural death of two people from the list of victims of extrajudicial killings, featuring 31 people, that was handed over to her by Novaya Gazeta.

However, the Human Rights Center Memorial stated in early October that the Chechen security forces had provided Moskalkova not with the missing people from the list of Novaya Gazeta, but their relatives.

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