Amnesty International has launched a petition to draw attention to the abduction, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya.
It comes after numerous reports of gay men being kidnapped and held in prisons and makeshift concentration camps, as well as men being attacked, tortured, blackmailed and even killed for their sexuality.
Human Rights Watch has corroborated the reports, saying they were “consistent” with information they’d received from sources in Russia.
“Over a hundred men suspected of being gay are being abducted, tortured and even killed in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya according to credible sources inside the country,” Amnesty’s petition reads. “The Chechen government won’t admit that gay men even exist in Chechnya, let alone that they ordered what the police call ‘preventive mopping up’ of people they consider to be undesirable.”
“We urgently need your help to call out the Chechen government on the persecution of people who are, as they put it, of ‘non-traditional orientation,'” Amnesty continue in their petition. “[We] urge immediate action to ensure their safety.”
Chechnya’s Interior Ministry dismissed initial reports of the treatment of gay men as an “April fools’ joke.” A press secretary for Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, refuted that there were even any gay people in Chechnya.
“If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them,” the press secretary said, “because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
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