It is hard to verify news coming out of Chechnya, so Gay Activist reports them as allegations, not facts. The situation seems to be deteriorating rapidly, and details take some time to emerge.
A secret mass execution of up to 56 people was carried in the volatile Russian region of Chechnya on 25 January, says the Novaya Gazeta, which published a list of names of 27 people who it alleged were wiped out in the alleged extra-judicial killings which are alleged to have taken place in the capital, Grozny.
None of the alleged executed were given a trial, which is a gross betrayal of their human rights under international law.
The mass arrests and executions were triggered by the alleged killing of a policeman on 16 December 2016.
Dozens of people executed in Chechnya ‘without ever going to trial’
Europe’s top human rights court ruled on Tuesday that Russia’s prohibition of “the promotion of homosexuality” discriminates and violates freedom of expression.
The prohibition became Russian law in 2013.
The case was brought to the court by three gay activists in Russia.
The European Court of Human Rights found that “the very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied” was “discriminatory and, over all, served no legitimate public interest” and ordered Russia to pay the men a total of 43,000 euros in damages.
The three activists who sued were Nikolai V. Bayev, 42; Aleksei A. Kiselev, 33; and Nikolai A. Alekseyev, 39. They had staged demonstrations from 2009 to 2012 in the cities of Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg, carrying banners stating that homosexuality is natural, and not a perversion. They were arrested and fined.
Valentyn Ogirenko for Reuters | 17111
Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching for gay pride in Kiev today, carrying banners and waving rainbow and Ukrainian flags in a parade which was flanked by a thick cordon of police.
The march was largely incident-free, but 200 people protested, variously calling it an affront to traditional values and to soldiers fighting pro-Russian separatist rebels in the eastern Donbass region.
Ukrainian authorities have increased their support for gay rights since a pro-Western government took power in 2014. In 2015, a law was passed banning workplace discrimination against the LGBT community.
Two men from Chechnya have told Reuters they were detained by police and subjected to torture and beatings because they were gay.
Seeing his rings and bracelets, the policemen asked if he was “a faggot” and beat him severely, the man said in an interview.
“Then they … forced me to tie a cable to my little toe and to my little finger. I was forced to do it myself, to attach the wires. And then they started using electric shocks,” he said.
The accounts that the two men gave could not be independently verified by Reuters. They fit in, however, with a pattern of persecution described by other sources.
Nikita Safronov, a Moscow-based LGBT activist, said almost 100 people from Chechnya had already got in touch via an LGBT-network hotline, and that more than 40 of them had been “evacuated”. Some had already left Russia, he added.
AFP | 17101
France welcomed its first gay refugee from Chechnya on Monday on the same day French President Emmanuel Macron pushed Russian leader Vladimir Putin to investigate the treatment and imprisonment of transgender and gay people in Chechnya, which is led by pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited Paris to hold talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and to open a French and Russian exhibition. Mr Macron said that Putin had promised “the whole truth”.
“I had the chance to bring up how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities and all sensibilities in a civil society,” he said, as Mr Putin stood beside him listening to the translation.
“President Putin told me… he had undertaken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya with measures aimed at establishing the whole truth about the activities of local authorities,” Macron said at a press conference with Putin after talks in Versailles. “I spelled out France’s expectations very precisely.”
Mr Macron warned Mr Putin that he would monitor further civil rights violations of gay people in Chechnya. The pair of leaders shook hands for the cameras in front of the Palace of Versailles, but their body language appeared tense.
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.
Recent protest in Berlin | AFP | 17091
Three French gay rights groups have filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court accusing Chechnya of the genocide of gay people.
They blamed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and state officials for a “wave of persecution”, and cited the case of a teenage male thrown out of a ninth-storey window, allegedly because of his sexuality.
The three French groups want the International Criminal Court in The Hague to start work before Russia withdraws from its jurisdiction in November.
There’s the problem.