Russia’s official investigation into the mistreatment and alleged imprisonment, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya has ended, finding that there are ‘no victims of persecution’
Russia has ended it’s official investigation into the mistreatment of gay men in the republic of Chechnya, concluding that there were “no victims”.
In April, Novaya Gazeta reported that over one hundred gay men were being detained, abused and killed at what the media are calling ‘concentration camps’ in Argun, Chechnya.
However, the official stance of Chechnya on the reports of a ‘gay purge’ is that gay people cannot be persecuted because such people do not exist in the country.
Kadyrov continued to publicly deny the reports of a gay purge in Chechnya in a televised meeting with Vladimir Putin last month.
However, directly contradicting that statement, the Chechen leader reportedly declared to Russian language media that gay people would be eliminated before May 26, which marks the beginning of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
After widespread calls for action from the international community, including a call from the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Russia launched an investigation into the horrific reports that gay men were being detained, tortured and murdered as part of a state-sanctioned ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya.
Russia’s Official Response
Dmitry Alushkin, the press ambassador for the Russian embassy in Israel, confirmed that the investigation has come to an end and that Russia finds no evidence of the reports of a gay purge in Chechnya.
“Authorised official government bodies of the Russian Federation, in cooperation with the government of the Chechen Republic, investigated the claims made by journalist Elena Milashina in her articles published in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and in other Russian media outlets,” said Alushkin.
“In the building – which in the past belonged to the military government (address: 99B Kadyrov Street, in the city of Argun) and called in the articles a ‘secret’ prison’ – is a storeroom, while a parking lot is located on the nearby space,” Alushkin said.
“There are no victims of persecution, threats or violence. Neither law enforcement authorities nor the [Chechen] Human Rights Council […] have received complaints on this matter,” the press ambassador added.
“This so-called investigation is clearly a sham. The Russian government claims that there is no evidence of abuses in Chechnya. Try telling that to the gay and bisexual men fleeing the republic and seeking asylum elsewhere. Try telling that to those who mourn the three men murdered during this crisis,” said Shawn Gaylord of the Human Rights First organisation.