Rus­sia urged to probe ‘gay con­cen­tra­tion camps’

CityPress - - News -

Rus­sia must in­ves­ti­gate re­ports by hu­man rights groups that dozens of men are be­ing held and tor­tured in Chech­nya be­cause they are be­lieved to be gay, the hu­man rights arm of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) said this week.

Rus­sian in­de­pen­dent news­pa­per No­vaya Gazeta has re­ported that at least three men have been killed in se­cret pris­ons, which have been de­scribed as “con­cen­tra­tion camps”.

Michael Link, the head of OSCE’s Of­fice for Demo­cratic In­sti­tu­tions and Hu­man Rights, said: “The au­thor­i­ties in Rus­sia must ur­gently in­ves­ti­gate the hor­rific re­ports of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions against al­legedly gay men in Chech­nya, as well as iden­tify, pros­e­cute and pun­ish any known per­pe­tra­tors.”

A spokesper­son for Ramzan Kady­rov, the pres­i­dent of the south­ern Rus­sian re­gion of Chech­nya and a vo­cal sup­porter of Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, was quoted by Rus­sia’s In­ter­fax news agency as deny­ing the al­leged abuses.

“No­body can de­tain or ha­rass anyone who is sim­ply not present in the re­pub­lic,” Alvi Ka­ri­mov was quoted as say­ing.

Link said: “Given the re­ported un­will­ing­ness of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute the se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tions al­leged to have been com­mit­ted by se­cu­rity ser­vices, it is in­cum­bent upon Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties to in­ter­vene and pro­tect all those re­main­ing at risk.”

The Krem­lin could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment on OSCE’s call for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Pre­vi­ously, Krem­lin spokesper­son Dmitry Peskov said he was aware of the re­ports about abuses against gay peo­ple in Chech­nya, but that it was up to Rus­sian law en­force­ment agen­cies to in­ves­ti­gate, and there­fore it was not an is­sue on the Krem­lin’s agenda.

– Reuters

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