Zero. None. And Six Prisons full.

As we have been told repeatedly, there are no gays in Chechnya. None at all. Zilch. Ne rien. Absolutely none at all. There can’t be a round-up of gay men, because there are none in Chechnya.

And six prisons are full of them.

Reports had initially centred on two jails in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt. But Novaya Gazeta, the respected Russian newspaper that made the initial claims, now says there are a further four prisons illegally holding men for their sexual orientation, reports the Daily Mail.

The men, who face torture in jail, are only released once their families offer bribes to police.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4440258/At-SIX-prisons-holding-gay-men-Chechen-Republic.html

The nastiest place in the world?

A group of 53 people have been charged in Nigeria after they were arrested last week from what police say was a party celebrating an unofficial gay wedding.

The group pleaded not guilty to charges relating to conspiracy, unlawfully assembly and membership in an unlawful society.

The defendants were mostly students who are alleged to have been illegally detained for more than 24 hours.

LGBT-rights activists refute the police’s report that the men were celebrating a same-sex wedding, saying the event in the northern city of Zaria was a birthday party.

http://time.com/4749868/nigeria-gay-wedding-arrests/

Pardons by numbers

The “Turing Law”, or to give it its correct name the Police and Crime Act 2017, which grants automatic pardons to gay men who were convicted of obsolete sexual crimes under the old Sexual Offences Acts and who have since died, and allows living convictees to apply for a pardon, has received the Royal Assent.

Gay Activist understands that pardons have been automatically granted to 59,000 men who have died.

16,000 men who are still alive will be asked to fill out a form to have the conviction removed from criminal records.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2013875/alan-turing-world-war-2-turings-law-gay-men-ardoned/

Common sense arrives in Tunisia

Forced medical examinations for homosexual men have been banned by Tunisia’s medical council.

Same sex relationships are banned in the north African country, where doctors perform anal “tests” on people suspected of being gay.

The National Council of the Medical Order has now decreed that doctors must tell people they have a right to refuse the examinations.

“Tunisian doctors have taken a courageous step in opposing the use of these torturous exams,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at HRW. “To ensure that forced anal testing in Tunisia ends once and for all, police should stop ordering the exams, and courts should refuse to admit the results into evidence.”

Your Activist hopes that this the start of a more reasonable future for gay people in Tunisia.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/tunisia-medical-council-anal-tests-homosexuality-abuse-gay-rights-men-lgbt-document-lgbt-a7680631.html

More to do

Writing for Third Sector, Kevin Curley notes that

It is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales. The extent to which our society has changed since then is illustrated by the fact that the Westminster parliament, with 35 out gay MPs, is the most diverse of any in the world in terms of sexual orientation. But many challenges remain for those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and others community.

Giving young people support and safe places is a constant theme in my conversations with local activists. So too is the need to challenge prejudice. Proud2Be’s Price says it’s a misconception that “the battle for LGBTQ+ rights has been won”. He says there have been great advancements in terms of securing equality under the law, but “we are by no means there yet”.

Brooke shows me the videos produced with her young members and says: “We are a long way from achieving equality in practice.”

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/kevin-curley-battle-gay-rights-long-go/local-action/article/1427131

Ouch!

Two men in Indonesia, aged 20 and 23, face up to 100 strokes of the cane each after neighbours reported them to Shariah police for having gay sex.

The men were reported to police by residents in the country’s conservative Aceh province on March 29.

The chief investigator said the two men had “confessed” to being a gay couple and that this was supported by video footage taken by a neighbour.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/men-face-100-strokes-with-cane-after-neighbours-report-them-for-gay-sex-a3510507.html

Torture alleged in Chechnya

Gay men are being tortured and murdered in Chechen prisons, detainees have alleged. Detainees told Novaya Gazeta they were tortured and electrocuted while they were imprisoned, and others described seeing prisoners beaten to death.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s spokesman called it “absolute lies and disinformation” and suggested there are no homosexuals in the Muslim-majority region. “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told the Interfax news agency.

Victims told Novaya Gazeta they were beaten with sticks, forced to sit on bottles and had their hands electrocuted.

“Several times a day we were taken out and beaten,” said one. “Their main aim was to find out your circle of contacts — in their minds if you are a suspect then your circle of contacts are all gay. They kept our phones switched on. Any man who calls or texts is a new target.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/gay-men-chechnya-prisons-detain-torture-murdered-killed-detain-russia-region-a7669911.html

US Court rules for gay workers

In a significant victory for gay rights, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay workers from job discrimination, expanding workplace protections in the landmark law to include sexual orientation.

The ruling today comes as concern grows about the potential rollback of protections under President Trump. While the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, many other legal protections, including in employment and housing, have not been extended at all levels to gay people.

German Parliament to consider compensating Paragraph 175 survivors

Germany’s cabinet has backed a bill to clear men handed sentences for homosexuality after World War Two under paragraph 175 of the penal code, which was eventually relaxed in 1969. 50,000 men were convicted under paragraph 175.

Many were sent to jail and some took their own lives because of the stigma.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said it was a flagrant injustice and those still alive would be given compensation.

The German cabinet decided today to back the bill annulling the sentences and proposing paying compensation to survivors affected. If passed, every man convicted who is still alive will receive a €3,000 lump sum plus a further €1,500 for each year spent in jail.

Only 5,000 men are thought to be eligible for compensation as most have since died.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39350105

Give us equality, for goodness’ sake

Former cavalry officer John Walker, who is fighting to win his husband equal pension rights, has taken his case to the Supreme Court hoping for a decision which could “dramatically change the lives of thousands of same-sex couples”. He wants five high court justices to overturn a Court of Appeal ruling in 2015 which went against him.

Appeal judges had decided his claim failed because it applied to a period before gay civil partnerships were recognised by the law.

Mr Walker, who was paying into a company scheme for 20 years, argues that his husband should have the same pension rights a wife would enjoy if he was in a heterosexual relationship. He has been making the same contributions to the pension scheme as his heterosexual colleagues and wants to ensure that, should he die first, his husband will be adequately provided for.

Your Activist pointed out this anomaly at the time the civil partnership laws were being drafted, and was ignored.

http://www.itv.com/news/2017-03-08/gay-man-takes-fight-for-equal-pension-rights-for-husband-to-supreme-court/