Gays' persecution in Grozny: calls for reprisals against journalists 

Gays' persecution in Grozny: calls for reprisals against journalists
Advisor to the Head of Chechnya Adam Shahidov

The resolution of the High Assembly of Islamic theologians and leaders of public opinion in Chechnya, held on April 3 in the main mosque of Grozny, contains open calls for reprisals against journalists, Novaya Gazeta states.⁠

An emergency meeting of the Chechen clergy leaders and public figures was convened in connection with the publication of Novaya Gazeta on the gays' persecution in Chechnya on April 1, 2017. The article reported on at least three murders of people suspected of homosexual orientation, as well as illegal detentions and tortures of at least 100 people in secret prisons.

The edition writes that about 15 thousand people took part in the meeting. First, calls for 'retribution' were mentioned in the speeches of main speakers. Speaking to the audience, adviser to the Head of Chechnya Adam Shakhidov accused the editorial board of Novaya Gazeta of slandering and labeled it as "enemies of our faith and our homeland."

At the conclusion of the meeting, a resolution was adopted declaring information about 'cleansing' gays in Chechnya “absolute lies and slander”. And its second point, according to the editors of Novaya Gazeta, states open calls for violence. The CrimeRussia quotes it unchanged.

"In view of the insult to the centuries-old foundations of Chechen society and the dignity of Chechen men, as well as our faith, we promise that the retribution will overtake true instigators, wherever and whomever they are, without a statute of limitations."

In the fourth paragraph of the resolution, the meeting calls on "every sensible person to fight the spread of such baseness and provocation in all possible ways," but it is noted in brackets that "possible ways" should be "lawful".

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Meeting in the Main Mosque of Grozny

Novaya Gazeta stresses that the main idea of ​​the resolution "pushes religious fanatics towards massacre of journalists".

In its statement, the editorial staff urges the Russian authorities to give a legal assessment of the High Assembly of Islamic theologians and leaders of public opinion in Chechnya resolution and "do everything possible to stop actions aimed at inciting hatred and enmity towards journalists fulfilling their professional duties."

Also in its statement the editors of Novaya Gazeta draw the attention of the authorities to the inaction of the Investigative Committee (ICR). 10 days since the publication of the facts on mass persecution of Chechen inhabitants because of their homosexual orientation expired on April 10, the newspaper notes.

According to the law, the ICR must respond to a report of a crime within ten days. In addition, on April 8, Novaya Gazeta editor in chief Dmitry Muratov appealed to Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika with a demand to oblige the ICR of the Russian Federation to verify the facts testifying to the commission of serious crimes.

But as by April 11, there was no any Investigative Committee's reaction; lawyer of the Agora international human rights organization Andrey Sabinin filed a complaint with the Moscow Basmanny Court. The human rights activist demanded to recognize the inaction of ICR Chairman Alexander Bastrykin unreasonable and illegal and oblige him to eliminate the violation.

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It should be recalled that the publication of Novaya Gazeta on mass detentions, torture and killings of homosexuals in Chechnya on April 1 caused an extremely negative reaction of Chechen officials, who, refuting this information, allowed statements that spoke about the national character of homophobia in the Republic.

The spokesman for the Head of Chechnya, Alvi Karimov said that "if there were gays in Chechnya, their relatives would send them to places of non-return." The member of the HRC under the Head of the Republic, Kheda Saratova, in turn, noted that "homosexuality is an evil that every citizen of the Republic should struggle with."

Meanwhile, since the first publication, new information confirming the words of Karimov and Saratova appeared in the media; the gay men who fled from Chechnya told different stories. It became known about several cases of 'honor killings', when relatives killed suspected of homosexuality descendants, and representatives of the main law enforcement agencies, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Rosgvardia, took part in the 'cleansing' of gays in Chechnya. It was reported that Magomed Daudov, the Speaker of the Chechen Parliament, personally oversees the persecution of gays in Chechnya.

It is worth noting that after the publication of Novaya Gazeta's statement in the evening of April 13, the website of the edition went wrong. According to Novaya Gazeta staff, it was DDoS attack got down the website.

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