Showing posts with label Chechnya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chechnya. Show all posts

January 31, 2019

The LGBT Community Files Complaint Demanding Criminal Investigation on TheTorture, Disappearance of Gay People in Chechnya




By Moscow 
LGBT activists say they filed a complaint demanding Russian authorities opened a criminal investigation into the alleged detention and torture of people as part of a suspected anti-gay campaign by security forces in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
The LGBT Network, a St. Petersburg-based group, said in a statement it submitted the complaint to the Investigative Committee, Russia's rough equivalent of the FBI, on Tuesday, asking it to probe the alleged detention of at least 14 people, as well as torture and at least one murder.
The move is an attempt by the group to compel Russian authorities to act on reports of a new wave of detentions and torture targeting the gay community in Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russian ruled by dictatorial leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Earlier this month, the LGBT Network claimed at least 40 people were detained and two killed in what they fear is a renewal of a campaign of persecution in Chechnya that in 2017 saw dozens of gay men rounded up and brutally tortured.
As in 2017, Chechen authorities denied the reports, largely by asserting that homosexuality does not exist in Chechnya.
Igor Kochetkov, the LGBT Network's director, told ABC News that the 14 cases in the complaint accounted for just those people reportedly held in one police station in Chechnya’s capital, Grozny, and that they had information that others were being held elsewhere across the country.
 Russian policemen surround Russian gay-rights activists standing next to boxes allegedly containing signed petitions calling for a probe into a reported crackdown on Chechnya's LGBT community, during a rally in central Moscow on May 11, 2017.
"We believe several dozen people are detained, no lower than 40," Kochetkov said by phone.
The LGBT Network helped dozens of gay men flee Chechnya in 2017, with many eventually finding asylum abroad. The group is trying to do the same this time, but it is harder because police are now blocking victims by seizing their passports, Kochetkov claimed.
According to the activists, the new detentions began after police arrested the administrator of a social media page popular with LGBT people in the region and began going after contacts in his phone. Unlike in 2017, police are also arresting women, Kochetkov said.
The activists identified two police sites in Grozny where people were allegedly being detained: a police station on Popovich Street and the local Ministry of Interior building. Kochetkov claimed others were also held in the town of Argun, a key site in the 2017 round-up.
For the first time, the group named one of those allegedly detained: Bekhan Yusupov, who Kochetkov said remains imprisoned.
The accounts closely recall those that emerged in 2017. Then, a man, identified for his safety by ABC News under the pseudonym Dmitry, claimed he was held for several days with others in cells deprived of food and water, beaten and hooked up to a battery.
Kochetkov said those allegedly detained this time described being raped with electro-shockers and that men were shaved and forced to dress in women's clothes.
The activists blamed Russia's federal authorities for the new persecutions, saying their failure to intervene in 2017 created a sense of impunity in Chechnya.
 Dancers wearing traditional costumes perform during celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the Chechen capital of Grozny, Russia, Oct. 5, 2018.
Following heavy international criticism then, Russian federal authorities opened a criminal probe, but it has since gone nowhere. A Russian man, Maxim Lapunov, who publicly described being tortured in October 2017, also filed a criminal complaint to the Investigative Committee.
But the committee declined to open a criminal case, and in November a court rejected Lapunov’s appeal against that decision, saying it was lawful, the investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported. Activists demanding an investigation were arrested in 2017
report in December by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation criticized Russia over its response, saying it failed "to live up to its responsibilities."
The U.S. State Department said in a statement this month it is "deeply disturbed" by the reports, calling them "credible" and demanding Russia act to meet its international obligations.
The LGBT Network said it has helped around 150 people leave Chechnya since 2017 and that about 130 of those had managed to go abroad. Rainbow Road, a Canadian-based group, said it has brought around 57 people to Canada.

January 15, 2019

The Arrests (40) and Deaths Commencing Again in Chechnya Which is Putin’s Sandbox to Practice Invasion



                       




Forty men and women have been detained and at least two have died in an anti-gay purge in Russia's Chechnya republic that is even more brutal than a 2017 crackdown, according to activists.
After the administrator of an LGBT social media group was detained in December, Chechen law enforcement began rounding up suspected homosexuals, LGBT Network said on Monday. It is holding people without charge in an infamous prison where gay men have previously said they were tortured, local residents told activists. 
One of the captives died after officials repeatedly cut him with a knife during an interrogation, Igor Kochetkov of LGBT Network told The Telegraph.  
“We can already say that the torture being suffered by those detained is savage, much worse than for those detained in 2017,” he said. “We know of two dead, but probably more have been killed.”
For the first time, women are also being systematically detained for presumed homosexuality, he added.
A gay man named Alexander who escaped Chechnya for France told the Russian news site Meduza that 10 people had actually been killed in the latest wave of the anti-LGBT “genocide,” and a friend who was imprisoned had seen bodies being carried away.
A post in a local LGBT social media group last week told gay people to “run from the republic as soon as possible”.
More than 100 were rounded up and at least six died in a crackdown on gay men in the predominantly Muslim republic in 2017. Some were handed over to relatives with the expectation they would be finished off in an “honor killing,” while others had to sign blank criminal charges for possible future use. 
LGBT Network has helped 150 people flee since 2017. 

Ramzan Kadyrov

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's Chechen Republic GETTY
Ramzan Kadyrov became the leader of Chechnya, a war-torn republic of 1.4 million people in the Caucasus mountains, in 2007, taking over after his father was assassinated in a bomb blast. The two Kadyrovs had fought against Russian forces for Chechnya's independence in the 1990s but defected to Moscow's side during the second Chechen War.
Accused of kidnappings and extrajudicial executions, Ramzan has stamped out dissent and a simmering Islamist insurgency with often brutal methods. At the same time, he has turned Chechnya into an increasingly conservative Muslim society.
He is seen to have carte blanche from the Kremlin, receiving generous federal funding and a free hand within Chechnya in exchange for keeping the insurgency at bay. Kadyrov's ostentatious displays of loyalty to Vladimir Putin included having thousands of his security forces pledge themselves as “foot soldiers” of the president.
One of Kadyrov's security officers gunned down opposition politician Boris Nemtsov outside the Kremlin in 2015.
 The press secretary of Chechnya's strongman ruler Ramzan Kadyrov, who was appointed by Vladimir Putin in 2007, called the latest accusations “lies and disinformation”.
Kadyrov has previously claimed there are no gay men in Chechnya and told the BBC during the World Cup that the reports of the purge were “all made up”. 
“The reason this is being repeated is impunity,” Mr Kochetkov said. “The Russian authorities didn't open a criminal case, and Kadyrov felt this impunity.”
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in December called on Russia to open an inquiry “in view of the clear evidence of successive purges against LGBTI persons” in Chechnya. 
It also called for a criminal investigation into the case of Maxim Lapunov, a gay man who told The Telegraph and others that he was held for 12 days in Chechnya and tortured in 2017. 
Police beat him until he couldn't stand, demanding the names of other gay men, he said. Others were tortured with electric shocks.
Mr. Lapunov, an ethnic Russian, was released when relatives from another region came looking for him, but police threatened him to keep quiet.
Russian authorities have repeatedly refused to investigate his complaints. Mr. Putin's human rights ombudswoman said last month a criminal case had not been opened because Mr. Lapunov had left Russia for Estonia. He fled there fearing for his safety.
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah poses with Kadyrov at a stadium during the World Cup, when the Egyptian team trained in Chechnya
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah poses with Kadyrov at a stadium during the World Cup, when the Egyptian team trained in Chechnya  CREDIT: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP
Police have now been hunting down contacts from the phones of the administrator of the LGBT social media group and subsequent people they detained, according to Mr Kochetkov.
Some have been released, but in a new development, their passports were ripped up to keep them from leaving Chechnya, he said.
“If we don't stop this now it could develop further, so it's very important to spread this information and put pressure on Moscow,” he said.
Human rights groups and the British government have also called on Moscow to take action against the repressions in Chechnya, where Mr. Kadyrov wields absolute power over a fearful populace.  
Last year, police began detaining teenagers en masse after five boys pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and were killed in attacks on police, The Telegraph reported. Other young people have been imprisoned on extremely flimsy terrorism accusations, and 27 were killed without trial in a mass execution in January 2017, according to an investigation by Novaya Gazeta newspaper. 

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