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Over a Hundred Gay Men Reportedly Rounded Up, In Some Cases Killed, by Police in a Single Region in Russia

News Brief

Dozens of men suspected of being homosexual have been rounded up, arrested and in some cases murdered by authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya, reports the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and human rights activists.

The author of the article Elena Milashina, regarded as a leading authority on Chechnya, writes that as many as three men have been killed and over 100 detained in the past several weeks. Milashina, says that among those detained are well-known local television personalities and religious figures.

The spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, said the reported was “absolute lies and disinformation,” because there were no gay people in Chechnya.

“You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” Russia’s Interfax news agency reported the spokesperson saying.

Another government spokesman, this time from the region’s interior ministry, called Novaya Gazeta’s report an “April fool’s joke.”

While Chechnya is formally part of Russia, the region functions as a quasi-independent state. Its leader Ramzan Kadyrov rules with impunity and with the blessing of Russian President Vladimir Putin.