Kadyrov comments on gays' sweeping purge scandal without calling them gays 

Kadyrov comments on gays' sweeping purge scandal without calling them gays
Ramzan Kadyrov

At a meeting with members of the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the republic Ramzan Kadyrov said that "so-called human rights international organizations" are conducting a "massive information attack" on Chechnya.⁠

April, 16 Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov held a meeting with members of the local Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights.

One of the main topics of the meeting, according to Newsru.com, was the recent investigation of Novaya Gazeta into mass sweeping purge of people of nonstandard sexual orientation in Chechnya, illegal detentions, murders and torture.

As a result of the meeting the Head of Chechnya said on his page in Instagram that at present "a massive information attack on Chechnya is carried out by so-called human rights international organizations. The most disgracful methods and forms are being used, the reality is being distorted, and attempts are being made to blacken our society, way of life, traditions and customs".

The Head of Chechnya noted that this would lead to nothing, "the whole world knows that terrorism has been defeated in Chechnya, government bodies have been democratically created, there are no problems in the field of religious and national relations, and people will always speak the language of lies and slander without shame and conscience".

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The Meeting of Chechnya HRC

"There have been tremendous changes in the republic in protecting the rights and legitimate interests of citizens. In the late 90's and early 2000's people disappeared without a trace. Their number amounted to thousands. Today this practice is completely obsolete. Law enforcement agencies are aimed at ensuring that no crime against a person remains undisclosed", – Kadyrov writes in his Instagram, citing the speeches of other participants to the meeting.

Ekho Moskvy notes that representatives of the MIA of Chechnya and the republican Prosecutor's Office who participated in the meeting of the members of the HRC with the head of the republic stated that they "did not receive claims on the detention of people of unconventional sexual orientation".

Furthermore, Chechen law enforcement agencies completely deny the deployment of a secret prison for illegally detained homosexuals in Argun. According to the law enforcers who participated in the meeting with Kadyrov, the places mentioned by a number of media outlets "were carefully examined with the participation of representatives of the media and human rights organizations".

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Chechen security forces did not find prisons and did not receive claims on the detention of gays

The media scandal on repressions against homosexuals in Chechnya broke out on April, 1 after the publication of the Novaya Gazeta investigation, which referred to the detention and torture of more than 100 homosexual men in Chechnya, as well as to the murders of at least three people.

The publication aroused the anger of Chechen politicians and clergy, who called these data "lies and provocation". Kadyrov's press secretary Alvi Karimov said that there were no gay people among the residents of the republic, and Kheda Saratova, a member of the HRC with the head of Chechnya, said that she "would not consider a statement about the murder of a homosexual, because this is an evil that every resident of Chechnya must fight with".

At the same time the international community called on the Russian authorities to investigate reports on gay repressions in Chechnya and punish those responsible, and the world-wide All Out LGBT network launched a campaign to raise funds for evacuating people of non-traditional sexual orientation from the Caucasian republic.

Meanwhile, the extremely negative reaction of the Chechen side to articles about the persecution of homosexuals made the journalists who wrote them worried. On April, 3 the main mosque of Grozny held a meeting of Islamic theologians and representatives of the public, in the resolution of which Novaya Gazeta saw direct threats against authors who wrote about repressions against Chechen gay people and their publications.

Editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta Dmitry Muratov wrote about this to the presidential administration, the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office with a request to see into the situation. He was supported by radio station Ekho Moskvy, which also experienced threats from representatives of the Chechen clergy and deputies. On April, 14 Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov noted that the Kremlin "is strongly against illegal methods of influencing journalists".

On April, 16 rock musician Yuri Shevchuk expressed his civil position on radio station Ekho Moskvy, addressing with the open letter Minister of Chechnya on national policy, foreign relations, press and information Dzhambulat Umarov – earlier the minister demanded Novaya Gazeta to bring apologies to the Chechen people and "stop hysteria about non-existent threats".

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Shevchuk proposed Chechnya to conduct investigation

Shevchuk believes that Novaya Gazeta is engaged in the struggle for the constitutional rights of citizens, "whoever they are, and in whatever regions these rights are violated". He noted that the media are needed to point out shortcomings and help "build a bright, enlightened, kind and strong Russia".

"If you do not agree with the latest publications in Novaya, conduct an investigation, and if the facts are not confirmed, sue them. By the way, V.V. Putin always tells us to act this way," – Shevchuk suggested.

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