'Nazi-style concentration camps for gays' opened in Chechyna, claims local media

'Nazi-style concentration camps for gays' opened in Chechyna, claims local media

'Nazi-style concentration camps for gays' opened in Chechyna, claims local media

Dozens of gay men detained in a crackdown on homosexuality in Chechnya have been imprisoned and tortured in illegal detention facilities, human rights groups believe.

Three men are feared dead after violent raids, as authorities targeted men "in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such".

The initial reports were deemed "absolute lies and disinformation" by a spokesman for Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, according to The New York Times.

Svetlana Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT network, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone that "such campaigning against homosexual men is unprecedented in Russia".

Reports of widespread persecution of homosexual citizens, including beatings, torture, and jailing them in concentration camps have emerged.

"We can only call on the Russian authorities to investigate the allegations", said Alexander Artemyev, from Amnesty International.

"It's impossible to persecute those who are not in the republic", Alvi Karimov, a representative of the Chechen leadership, said.

This is the latest in a series of claims made by human rights activists, alleging gross mistreatment of members of the LGBTQ community in the Muslim-dominated region.

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"You can't detain and repress people who simply don't exist in the republic", he said, reports BBC.

The Chechen authorities have refused to stop the arrests, with one government spokesman denying that there are even LGBT people in Chechnya at all, saying, "You can not arrest and repress those who simply aren't in the republic". The 100 gay men allegedly arrested and taken to the LGBT concentration camps in the Russian region is being referred to as a "gay purge".

"If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn't need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning". The individuals claiming to have survived the torture have also said the Chechen guards are attempting to make them promise to leave the republic if set free.

Novaya Gazeta reveals that authorities are finding the gay men with the help of relatives and even real estate agents who are likely "forced to put cameras in apartments and in this way get dirt on the victims".

In a statement on their website, the Russian LGBT Network addressed the reports with concern, saying they were "disturbed about the information" of the kidnappings.

International watchdog organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch confirmed that the reports are in line with what they're hearing from their sources.

An appeal on Facebook has garnered interest from at least 500 people to turn up at 5.30pm on Wednesday (12 April) at the Russian embassy on the junction of Bayswater Road and Ossington Street.

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