It is reported that Russian officials are examining claims that a deadly anti-homosexual purge has been unfolding in Chechnya. Detainees who spoke to the Guardian reported being held in a secret location for days or weeks, beaten and tortured with electric shocks.
After international outcry, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the situation by the country’s human rights ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova. The Guardian reports there is evidence Russian authorities are investigating the allegations.
Human rights groups have urged Moscow to investigate the reported abuse and alleged deaths of gay men. German Chancellor Angela Merkel confronted Putin about the issue during a recent meeting with him.
Today Human Rights Watch issued details of alleged abuses of gay men at the hands of Chechen authorities. The report says the men who are released face reprisals not only from Chechen security forces, but also from their own families.
Chechnya is an extremely conservative society and homosexuality is considered a “stain” on the family honour.
A spokesperson for Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s strongman leader, again dismissed reports of the purge by saying that there are no gay people in the quasi-independent state. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” he said, according to the New York Times.
Polda Metro | 17094
Indonesian police have arrested dozens of men accused of holding a ‘gay sex party’ at a gym and sauna in Jakarta.
Officers raided a venue called Atlantis in the late hours of Sunday and arrested 141 men including one Briton and one Singaporean.
Police said up to 10 men could be charged under the country’s harsh pornography laws.
Pictures circulating online showed topless men sitting crammed in a room next to gym equipment after the police raid.
Those found guilty of breaking the laws face up to 10 years in jail.
People arrested in earlier raids were forced to have HIV tests.
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The families of four men murdered by “Grindr killer” Stephen Port, who met his victims on a gay dating app before spiking them with lethal doses of GHB and dumping their bodies close to his east London flat between June 2014 and September 2015, are suing the Metropolitan Police for more than £200,000 over claims that police failed to link the deaths due to homophobia inside the police force.
The men, Anthony Walgate, 23, Gabriel Kovari, 22, Daniel Whitworth, 21, and Jack Taylor, 25, all died of GHB poisoning. Three of them were found in a churchyard next to Mr Port’s home in Barking.
Port left a fake suicide note with Mr Whitworth that read: “Please do not blame the guy I was with last night.” Police initially thought the youngsters had overdosed and dismissed concerns raised by their friends and family members. Officers only realised they had been murdered after a fresh investigation was launched following the death of Mr Taylor, who was Mr Port’s final victim.
Seventeen family members of the victims are suing Scotland Yard in the High Court, claiming that officers discriminated against their relatives because they were gay. They allege there were “breaches of duty and inaction” and accuse the force of breaching the Equality Act 2010, of negligence, and misusing or abusing their power by failing to properly investigate; and are seeking “aggravated and exemplary damages” in excess of £200,000.
Officers admitted they “missed opportunities” after failing to spot similarities between the killings.
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Russian LGBT campaigners have rescued at least 40 people from Chechnya where a teenage boy was recently killed after being pushed off a 9th floor balcony by his uncle who believed he was gay. The Russian LGBT Network has organised an emergency evacuation of gay people eager to escape.
A hotline has been set up. A spokesman said:
‘Well, the first thing for us to do is, of course, to evacuate them from Chechnya, like, to other parts of Russia.
But we are also working to evacuate them, to relocate them to – out of Russia because for most of them it’s just deadly dangerous to stay in Russia because some of them are already hunted by their relatives outside of Chechnya.
They’re telling us that they are beaten. Sometimes some people are beaten to death. And also people are saying that they’re tortured with electric current, they are not fed properly and they don’t have any water.’
Over 40 gay men saved from Chechnya’s homophobic ‘purge’
Dave Frenkel | Twitter | r
Russian police today detained gay community activists attempting to raise awareness of the systemic persecution of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Around ten protesters were arrested near the Anichkov Bridge During a May Day march in St Petersburg.
A separate group of gay-rights protesters with placards that called for the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, to be tried at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, were also detained.
One activist was taken away in an ambulance.
More than a hundred men have been rounded up and detained in secret prisons by Chechen authorities in recent weeks, with many beaten and tortured, according to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Over the past week, men ranging in age from 16 to 50 have disappeared from the streets of Chechnya. At the weekend, a leading Russian opposition newspaper confirmed that the Chechen authorities are arresting, and alleged that they are killing, gay men.
Abuses by security services in the region have long been a stain on President Vladimir Putin’s human rights record, but until now gay people had not been targeted on a large scale.
The unknown number of gay men were detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such,” said newspaper Novaya Gazeta, citing Russian federal law enforcement officials, who blamed the local authorities.
Get on the phone again, Elton.