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Homophobia is widespread in Chechnya. The mainly Muslim region is run by Ramzan Kadyrov, an authoritarian leader with a notorious private militia, fiercely loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Natalia Poplevskaya told the BBC that victims – either gay or just perceived as gay – are being held at a detention center near Argun, 13 miles from the city of Grozny.
She said the LGBT Network was aware of “an organized campaign to detain gay men” in Chechnya. “Torture is going on with electric shocks, beatings with cables. All the people arrested are homosexual men or perceived as being gay,” she said. Three deaths have been reported. Furthermore, more than 30 people were crammed into one cell, she added. Despite appeals to the Russian authorities to stop the abuses, no action has been taken.
Ramzan Kadyrov spokesman Alvi Karimov denied the alleged persecution: “You can’t detain and repress people who simply don’t exist in the republic,” he said. Therefore LGBT “doesn’t exist” in their region. To be a little more straightforward here with the dialogue, let’s just consider two words, “Concentration Camps”.
Activists are speaking out. Check out the video below (with captions):