Chechnya leader challenges Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron to visit and find proof of gay purge

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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has challenged German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to visit his region and find proof of the gay purge.

Quoting nineteenth-century Russian playwright Alexander Griboyedov, Kadyrov also accused the leaders “and all who sympathise with them” of stirring up “pathetic nausea on the side of a stranger.”

Posting to his new account on Telegram, a social media platform where messages are heavily encrypted and can be destroyed by senders, he also defended Russia’s state-run media.

“Do not accuse the Russian media of slander and at this time be guided by false information,” he said.

He added: “President of France Macron, taking Merkel with him in search of truth, can visit the Chechen Republic. The doors are open!”

His previous post, on Saturday, was about Ramadan and the importance of kindness, charity and doing “good deeds.”

Last week, he wrote about how wonderful it was to be part of Russia, where “our constitutional freedom of religion is prescribed.”

He did not seem to appreciate the irony of making either statement at a time when gay men are being detained, persecuted and killed for their sexuality.

More than a hundred Chechen men have been targeted for punishment since the targeted attacks began.

The German and French leaders have both spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about Chechnya this month in an effort to stop the persecution of gay men in the region.

Russia has opened an investigation which Kadyrov said he would cooperate with, though he denied there have ever been any gay men to persecute in the region, instead calling them “fake” Chechens.

And Russian officials dismissed all reports as “false” just a few days later.

Petition: Stop the persecution of gay men in Chechnya

In April, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on the gay persecution and the journalists who uncovered the story had been forced into hiding after receiving death threats.

Since then, LGBT groups have tried to help gay men escape from the Russian region.

The Russian LGBT Network has helped to evacuate 42 gay men from the region, with those involved describing the “deadly dangerous” situation they found there.

A number of heart-breaking stories from the region have also been shared, including reports of parents of gay people who were issued a warning to kill their children before police killed them in torture camps.

Last week, one of the concentration camps holding gay men was destroyed, with victims moved on to a new location.