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Chechnya Horror

Matthew Hanley, Editor in Chief

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The Republic of Chechnya has come under recent scrutiny as reports of gay men being rounded up and jailed in camps circumvent across the globe. These reports mark the first time homosexuals have been placed in internment camps since 1945 during Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Word of these acts was first published by a respected Russian news outlet, Novoya Gazeta, after receiving a testament from a victim who explained that, “Detainees were tortured, beaten, shocked.”

Novoya Gazeta published an exposé after receiving the victim’s story and helped a popular Russian LGBT network to establish a hotline to allow victims to share their experiences. Chechen victims began to flood their feeds, claiming that the camps are located within former military and state installations, the largest of them all being located in the town of Argun.

Many of the surviving victims spoke of strange, quasi-sexual punishments inflicted upon detained homosexual men. Reports of nearly fatal beatings have not been uncommon amongst the victims who have spoken out. Cellular phones have been kept activated so that family and lovers who attempt to contact prisoners can be more easily found and detained. One victim claimed that, “Some were beaten to death and returned like a bag of bones. I know of about two deaths.”

Word of these events has been covered globally and spoken out against by many political activists and politicians. Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the UN, most recently stated that, “We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association.” Many have called it a humanitarian crisis.

Chechen Regional Leader Ramzan Kadyrov has not discussed the topic with great detail and denied all accusations of funding or approving of the events. Kadyrov was given control of Chechnya in 2005 after the assassination of his father Akhmat in 2004. Kadyrov’s irregular military and police forces have come under criticism before for their many accusations of abduction and atrocity.

When asked about the possibility of the truth behind these events, Kadyrov commented that it is unlikely, as, “Homosexuals do not exist in Chechnya. If they did, they would be exiled by their friends and family.”

According to the Independent, “Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has backed the Chechen government’s denials that men suspected of being gay are being detained, tortured and killed.”

 

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