Sev­eral de­tained for be­ing gay

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - WORLD NEWS | CLASSIFIEDS - NATALIYA VASILYEVA

MOSCOW — Sev­eral peo­ple have been re­cently de­tained in Rus­sia’s Chech­nya re­gion on sus­pi­cion of be­ing gay, in a throw­back to an ear­lier crack­down, ac­tivists said.

The re­ports come a year and a half af­ter more than 100 gay men in Chech­nya were ar­rested and sub­jected to tor­ture, and some of them were killed, ac­cord­ing to ac­tivists. Chechen au­thor­i­ties never ad­mit­ted their role in the well-doc­u­mented abuse, and fed­eral au­thor­i­ties con­ducted a probe that did not pro­duce any find­ings to back up the re­ports.

Promi­nent ac­tivist Ig or Ko­chetkov said on Fri­day that gay rights sup­port­ers have seen a spike in de­ten­tions of men and women sus­pected of be­ing gay since late De­cem­ber. Ko­chetkov would not say how many peo­ple have been de­tained or where they are now. He said the ac­tivists are pre­par­ing a short re­port to be re­leased on Mon­day.

The In­te­rior Min­istry in Chech­nya was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

In­de­pen­dent news­pa­per No­vaya Gazeta, which broke the news of the crack­down in 2017, ear­lier on Fri­day re­ported re­newed per­se­cu­tions of gay peo­ple in Chech­nya.

Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties kept deny­ing that the killings and tor­ture took place in the pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim re­gion where ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is a taboo, even af­ter one man came for­ward to talk about the time he spent in de­ten­tion in Chech­nya.

Maxim La­punov said he was de­tained by uniden­ti­fied peo­ple on a street in the Chechen cap­i­tal, Grozny, and kept in cus­tody for two weeks, where he was re­peat­edly beaten. He was let go af­ter he signed a state­ment ac­knowl­edg­ing he was gay and was told he would be killed if he talked about his time in de­ten­tion.

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