Following the news on the first of this month, that at least 100 people were being detained for suspected homosexuality in the former Soviet – now Islamic (time will tell which turns out to be the more damaging) Chechen Republic.
The Novaya Gazeta has reported more than once on the violent campaign against homosexuals in the country, and following a meeting of Muslim clerics on April 3 it was decided that the newspaper had caused offence to Chechen Muslim men.
Following a statement of hostility from Islamic religious leadership, the paper said:
“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.”
The population of Chechnya is almost entirely Muslim, which goes a long way in explaining the attitude of intolerance and barbarism which is being shown towards Chechen citizens.
The BBC reported today that, according to a spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT Network:
“Detainees were tortured with electric shocks and beatings at a prison near Argun, 20km (13 miles) from the city of Grozny.”
Some of the men held in the camps are thought to have been killed already, while others continue to be tortured – there are even reports of electroshock therapy.
It is also feared that some men may have been the victims of honour killings this month, after being exposed to their families as gay.
One Chechen man (who remains unnamed) told the Guardian of how he was treated in a jail, having being captured in a sting operation when he believed he was going on a date:
“They woke us up at 5am and let us sleep at 1am. Different people would come in and take turns to beat us. Sometimes they brought in other prisoners, who were told we were gay and were also ordered to beat us.”
The man who gave this account was released to his family, but is now estranged from them under threat of violence should he return to his father.
The despicable mouthpiece of the government, Alvi Kamirov has continually denied that any such events are taking place on the basis that there are no gay men in Chechnya, and seems to take sadistic delight in saying:
“If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
According to a Guardian article:
“Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had no information about the allegations and advised those with complaints to contact authorities.”
Given that it is the Islamic authorities which are not only enacting the bigoted campaign, but calling for retribution towards those few journalists who stand against such things – it seems incredibly unlikely that the authorities will do an awful lot to help.
The Russian LGBT Network has accused Russia of remaining wilfully ignorant of the abuses taking place on their doorstep, while Chechen mufti Mufti Salah-haji Mezhiev has seemingly declared war upon the nations journalists (or at least the good ones):
“Allah will punish those who slandered the whole Chechen nation and Chechen Republic’s clerics.”