Gay Concentration Camps in Chechnya

Reports are circling that Gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya are being rounded up, arrested and held in concentration camp-style prisons.

Russian newspapers and human rights groups report that more than 100 gay men have been detained “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such” as part of a purge. Several are feared dead after the latest violent raids.

The Chechen government denies that there have been raids or even that there are even any gay people to detain, insisting that “you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic”. Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin has denied any knowledge of a purge as well.

Reports say the detainees face electric shock torture and violent beatings, while some have been held at ransom and used to extort their families.

The Russian LGBT Network ,who is running a support line for gay men fleeing the region, has confirmed the reports.

LGBT activist Svetlana Zakharova said: “Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region.

“Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.”

UK Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay has called on Russia to investigate the situation in Chechnya and ensure the perpetrators are held accountable.

“The detention and ill-treatment of over 100 gay men in Chechnya is extremely concerning. Reports have also suggested that at least three of these men have been killed.

“The statement by the regional Government, implying that such treatment towards LGBT people is acceptable, is particularly abhorrent. We condemn any and all persecution, and call on the authorities to promptly investigate and ensure that perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to justice.

“The human rights situation for LGBT people in Russia has deteriorated significantly in recent years and we continue to voice our serious concern with Russian authorities at all levels.

“Russia’s international human rights obligations require them to protect citizens who may be at risk of persecution. We expect the Russian government to fulfill its obligations to this end, and to uphold the rule of law.

Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

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