Russian LGBT Network helps 40 gays escape Chechnya

Russian LGBT Network helps 40 gays escape Chechnya
Igor Kochetkov, chairman of Russian LGBT Network

Nine of them have left Russia.

Igor Kochetkov, the chairman of Russian LGBT Network, said that the organization took 40 gay men from Chechnya after they suffered persecution for their sexuality. The human rights activist added that 9 of them had already left the Russian Federation. Over 80 people have turned to the LGBT Network for help lately, Kochetkov told Nastoyashcheye Vremya media outlet.

However, according to the LGBT Network official, the evacuation has been hindered by various bureaucratic delays. Many countries refuse to receive refugees who leave Russia for an unknown reason. Western countries do not have specific procedures to help those persecuted on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Human rights ombudsman Tatiana Moskalkova has submitted reports on gays who disappeared in Chechnya to the Investigative Committee. The LGBT Network chairman linked the persecution with the recently adopted law banning gay propaganda. According to Kochetkov, the government made it clear that gays are inferior beings in its eyes.

On May 17, Lithuania granted visas to two Chechen fugitives, said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius. He stressed that Lithuania was the first to receive people who were oppressed in Chechnya. They are now considering whether asylum should be granted to them.

On April 1, Novaya Gazeta reported persecution of people with unconventional sexual orientation in Chechnya. According to the publication, over 100 men suspected of homosexuality were detained in the Republic. They were humiliated and tortured and three of them were killed. Russian President instructed the Prosecutor General and the Minister of Internal Affairs to probe into the situation. Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov said that homosexuals could not possibly be hounded in the Republic since there were no gay Chechens whatsoever.

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