Chechen MIA to press charges due to publications on gay purge in republic

Chechen MIA to press charges due to publications on gay purge in republic
Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov

An agency check, appointed by Head of the MIA Administration in Chechnya Ruslan Alkhanov, has found no evidence of detentions and murders of homosexuals.

The MIA Administration for the Chechen republic intends to apply to the court following the results of an official check conducted after Novaya Gazeta’s articles about persecutions of homosexuals in Chechnya.

An official statement of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was published by the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Chechnya.

According to Chechen Minister of Internal Affairs Ruslan Alkhanov, the MIA Administration for the Chechen republic has checked the information about the oppression of gay people in the country and has found no evidence of the information published in the media. In the words of Police Lieutenant General, the official check on the signals of gay repression in Chechnya was assigned immediately after the first publication in Novaya Gazeta on April 1.

"The internal affairs bodies of the republic have not received a single report concerning the fact of oppression, and especially, a massacre of people of non-traditional orientation in the republic," Alkhanov stated. 

According to the head of Chechen MIA, the hotlines of the ministry and MIA Internal Security Department's field investigation unit have received no reports of harassment of gays in the republic.

"The pseudo-sensational statement about the alleged detention of more than 160 homosexual men, 50 of whom have been killed, is based on nothing and is far-fetched," the head of Chechen MIA said.

Alkhanov stressed that the agency checks every fact, voiced by the media on this topic.

"The big fuss, hyped by individual pseudo-human rights activists of the Chechen people, is provocative and aims to discredit the Chechen Republic in the public eye," Alkhanov concluded. 

The agency check materials have been referred to the ICR Investigations Directorate in Chechnya for the adoption of a procedural decision. The republic's Ministry of Internal Affairs will appeal to the court according to its results.

Let us recall that the high-profile scandal surrounding the Chechen law enforcement bodies erupted on April 1 after the publication of the article "Murder of Honor" by Novaya Gazeta, which covered the illegal detentions of people of unconventional sexual orientation by Chechen security officials and at least three murders. The article and the series of publications confirming the information aroused anger in the representatives of the Chechen authorities, who accused the publication of libel.

Two weeks later, on April 13, Novaya Gazeta reported threats to the editorial office, voiced during the High Assembly of the leaders of clergy and public men of Chechnya in the main mosque of Grozny. Speaking to the audience, Adviser to the head of Chechnya Adam Shakhidov described journalists of the newspaper as "enemies of our faith and homeland."

After the situation was commented by Putin's Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who stated that "the Kremlin is monitoring the situation and opposes illegal methods of influencing journalists," Mufti of Chechnya Salah-haji Mezhiev clarified the meaning of Shakhidov's speech. He explained that it was a question of "retribution of Allah Almighty" and bringing the slanderers to justice. Later at a meeting with Vladimir Putin, Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov passed his assessment of the media scandal, calling the articles on gay persecution in the republic a "provocation."

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