Activists say Chechnya has resumed its ‘purge’ of gay men

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov

Activists in Russia have said that Chechen authorities have re-started the detaining of gay and bi men following on from a “gay purge” this year.

The disturbing reports from earlier this year alleged that the men were being held in secret concentration camp-style prisons where they face torture and abuse.

European leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have both raised the issue publicly during meetings with Vladimir Putin, and the UK government has also expressed concerns.

Now, according to Enrique Torre Molina of All Out, Chechens have contacted the Russian LGBT Network hotline to say that arrests are again being made once again.


“Nearly 100 days ago, news broke of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge,” said Molina in a statement.

“Over 100 men were hunted down, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured by state authorities, because they were believed to be gay. At least 6 were murdered. Others were returned to their families barely alive, with their captors encouraging relatives to carry out honour killings.”

“The Russian LGBT Network and All Out call on G20 leaders to demand that President Putin order a full and immediate end to the arrest of gay men in Chechnya. And that G20 leaders pressure President Putin to conduct a full, independent and impartial inquiry into the abuses that have already taken place.”

Despite calls for President Trump to raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US Government has remained silent on the issue.

Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently admitted he didn’t bother to raise it during meetings with Russian officials.

Last month the US Congress passed a resolution which condemns the anti-gay purge.

The ‘concentration camps’ were reportedly set up in February 2017, with gay men being abducted, held prisoner and tortured there.

It’s said that police found contact information for several gay men on the phone of a Chechen man who had been stopped for an alleged drugs offence.

Kadyrov’s press secretary Alvi Karimov, dismissed the report as “absolute lies”, but followed that up with a bizarre claim that there are no gay people in Chechnya and added the chilling message: “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.”

An activist stands naked wrapped in a rainbow flag (John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)
It later emerged that some families were doing just that – killing the gay members of their families themselves. In one shocking report, a teenager was pushed to his death from a ninth-floor balcony by an uncle after he was outed.

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State Duma Deputy of Chechnya Magomed Selimkhanov added: “In Chechnya, there are no gays, so there is no attitude toward them. Personally, I think that they belong two metres under the ground.”

Two camps were initially reported on, based in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt, but further investigations revealed a further four jails for gay people, bringing the total number believed to be in the Chechen Republic up to six.

One was later destroyed and moved to a new location.