Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Republic of ChechnyaAccording to reports by local media and human rights organizations, a concentration camp has been established in the town of Argun in the Russian region of Chechnya. It is said to be the first such prison camp to be opened since the Nazi concentration camps of World War II.
The purpose of the camp? To detain more than 100 gay men, as part of a widespread purge of LGBT people in Chechnya.
The news was first published by an independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, and was corroborated by Human Rights Watch.
An April 2017 report by Human Rights Watch states,
For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya. Law enforcement and security agency officials under control of the ruthless head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, torturing and humiliating the victims. Some of the men have forcibly disappeared. Others were returned to their families barely alive from beatings. At least three men apparently have died since this brutal campaign began.
This chilling information was first publicised by Novaya Gazeta, a leading independent Russian paper. Their report came out on 1 April, prompting the spokesperson for Chechnya’s Interior Ministry to dismiss it as an “April fools’ joke.” Kadyrov’s press secretary immediately described the report as “absolute lies and disinformation,” contending that there were no gay people in Chechnya and then adding cynically, “If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
Chechnya’s official news agency, Grozny Info, quoted numerous local commentators bashing Novaya Gazeta and other “enemies” of Chechnya and Russia for supposed attempts to discredit the Chechen people, “foster sodomy,” and undermine “traditional values.”
The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground. The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred. LGBT Network in Russia opened a special hotline to provide emergency support to those who find themselves in immediate danger.
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