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Despite Reports, Kremlin Denies Gay Men Are Being Detained, Tortured, and Murdered in Chechnya

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‘We Do Not Have Any Reliable Information About Any Problems in This Area’

The Chief spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that the Russian government had not been made aware of the ongoing persecution, detention, and murder of LGBTQI persons in Chechnya, in Russia’s Northern Caucus region. 

“We do not have any reliable information about any problems in this area,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Homophobia is rife in the Republic and the Chechen authoritarian leader, Ramzan Kadyrov (photo, right, with Putin), is known to be fiercely loyal to Putin. 

The reports, corroborated by three leading human rights groups and a Russian group allege that the detentions continue and that the men held are undergoing torture and abuse.

BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire told NCRM that the journalist who broke the story, Novaya Gazeta’s Elena Milashina, who is currently in hiding, told her Wednesday: “We know about four secret prisons. Two of them in the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, one of them in Argun – this is the first secret prison we discovered where LGBT people were detained, beaten, tortured and killed.”

“We got this information [a few] weeks ago and began to prove it. It’s pretty hard in Chechnya, especially to rescue LGBT people, because they’re a very closed network. The region is very hard on those people and they have to hide,” Milashina continued.

“The Chechen government denied [the allegations], although they don’t deny that if they found this kind of people in Chechnya they would be killed. They don’t deny this, but they deny the secret camps and they have denied that they detained more than 100 people and killed some of them.”

Earlier this month Novaya Gazeta published accounts of nearly 100 men who were detained in Chechnya, “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation.” The Russian independent opposition newspaper also published reports that alleged about a half-dozen people had been killed, while others suffered acts of torture at the hands of government agents in the Chechen capital of Grozny, and the city of Argun, in what were described as special detention facilities.

Milashina has been forced into hiding after one of the region’s largest mosques declared a jihadist fatwah against her as well as the paper itself.

According to the paper’s chief editor Dmitry Muratov, the Chechens’ spiritual leader, Mufti Salah-haji Mezhiev, had called for retribution against the paper and Milashina at a special meeting held in Grozny, on April 3. Speaking to the Russian news site RBC, Salah-haji Mezhiev said, “Allah will punish those who slandered the whole Chechen nation and Chechen Republic’s clerics. There will be retribution!”

In an open letter published after the Cleric’s public statement on Thursday, Muratov wrote that his journalists would continue investigating human rights abuses in Chechnya.

“We did not insult, neither had we the slightest intention to insult, the Chechen people,” Muratov said, calling for dialogue. “We urge the Russian authorities to do everything possible to prevent actions aimed at inciting hatred and enmity towards journalists, who are doing their professional duty.” Chechens have been linked to two murders of Novaya Gazeta reporters who investigated crimes in Chechnya, Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova. 

RELATED: REPORTS: Chechnya Opens Concentration Camp to Detain and Torture Gay Men

When the paper initially broke the story, a spokesperson for Kadyrov denied the arrests, telling the press that “such persons do not exist in Chechnya and even if so then their families will deal with them,” alluding to potential honor killings of LGBTQI persons.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United Nations have issued statements condemning the situation, asking that the Russian Government investigate the situation. Russian LGBTQ activists have told NCRM that private efforts are currently underway to get LGBTQI persons out of that region. 

Brody Levesque is the Chief Political Correspondent for The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody at Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

Image via The Kremlin

 

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Influential Far Right Conservatives Ballistic Over Breyer Retirement: ‘They Must Be Stopped’

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As soon as the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current session, right-wing activists began declaring that Breyer had been “bullied” into stepping down and therefore Republicans must do everything they can to block whomever President Joe Biden nominates to fill that seat.

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network and Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch both asserted that Breyer had been forced out of his seat on the court.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America declared that Biden must use the vacancy to unify the nation by appointing to the court a “constitutionalist” (which is conservative code for “right-wing ideologue”).

Proclaiming that the Senate is the “our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices,” Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel used the opportunity to promote his own campaign.

Rep. Lauren Boebert proclaimed that Biden should take a hint from Breyer and “follow him out the door.”

Right-wing activist Brigitte Gabriel openly asserted that it doesn’t even matter whom Biden nominates, “they must be stopped.”

Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh demanded that the position remain vacant until following the midterm elections in November, insisting that “it would be an assault on our democracy” to confirm any nominee before then.

Taking things a step further, radical Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers called on the U.S. Senate to “filibuster, stall, delay and hold Biden’s Supreme Court pick until 2024.”

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Watch: Florida Dems Walk Out After DeSantis’ Surgeon General Refuses to Say if Vaccines Work

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Democrats on a Florida state Senate committee walked out of the confirmation hearing of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Surgeon General nominee, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a far right-wing anti-science extremist after he refused to answer if vaccines are safe and effective, and why the Dept. of Health has stopped publicly posting COVID data.

Ladapo, who has been in the position for months, has ties to an infamous conspiracy theorist doctor who talks about alien DNA, demon sperm, and pushes hydroxychloroquine as a COVID cure.

Asked if the COVID vaccines are effective, Ladapo refused to say “yes” or “no.” The Tallahassee Democrat reported Ladapo’s answers were “long-winded, indirect,” and that he “gave murky answers about his criticism of the Biden administration and his ability to work with the federal government, and whether he had a plan for ending the pandemic in Florida.”

“I would say that, that the, the question is a scientific one and it’s one that is answered with data. So, so, the, the question, the question is informed by data on specific outcomes and specific, specific therapies. So that’s a that’s the, that’s the scientific question.”

The Senator, polite but frustrated, pushed back: “Just a yes or no. Do vaccines work? In fighting against COVID-19? Yes or no?”

Related: DeSantis Vows to Fight FDA After COVID Treatment His Top Donor Invested in Is Found to Not Fight Omicron

“Senator,” replied Ladapo, an anti-vaxxer who opposes testing for the deadly coronavirus. “I just, I as a scientist, you know, I I, I am compelled to answer the scientific question, and I’d be happy to answer any specific scientific question that you have related to vaccines and COVID-19.”

So she tried again.

“Scientifically, does the, do the vaccines work against preventing COVID-19? Yes or no?”

“So, yes or no questions are not that easy to find in science,” Ladapo obfuscated. “So, I will I understand I think I have better clarity about your your question at this point. So what I would say is that the most commonly used vaccines in the United States, which would be the the Pfizer product and the product that was was developed by Moderna have been shown to have relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization.”

Later, he was asked why the state has stopped publicly releasing COVID data. He again obfuscated.

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BREAKING NEWS

SCOTUS Justice Breyer Retiring

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, is retiring at the end of the Court’s term. Breyer, nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is one of just three liberals left on the nation’s highest court.

Progressives have been working to convince Breyer to retire while President Joe Biden still has a Democratic majority in the Senate.

NBC News’ Pete Williams broke the news. He notes President Biden committed to nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

 

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