In a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court, three French gay-rights groups contend the government of Chechnya has adopted an official policy of genocide targeting homosexuals.
Originally brought to light by Russian investigative newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, the groups allege men accused of homosexual activities have been illegally detained, mistreated, subjected to electrical torture and held in secret detainment centers for ransom.
“If beating you with their hands and feet is not enough, they use electric shock. They have a special black box and they attach wires to your hands or ears. The pain is awful. It’s terrible torture,” says Ruslan, an escaped Chechen homosexual.
Reports also say a former military prison in Argun is used as a center in which homosexual inmates are tortured and forced to sign documents pledging to leave the country.
In response to the allegations which surfaced in April, Russian President Vladimir Putin has supported an inquiry into the matter and has instructed Russia’s interior minister and prosecutor general to investigate reports of hate crimes perpetrated against Chechen homosexuals.
Complicating matters, however, is Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, who flatly denies homosexuals exist in Chechnya.
“We have never had them among the Chechens. Unless we are talking about those who aren’t Chechens but say they are so that they can get to the West,” Kadyrov told Interfax in response to Putin’s ordered probe.
Kadyrov also states no complaints have been lodged against Chechen police for abuse of homosexuals in his country.
A breakaway republic from the former Soviet Union, Chechnya and the Russian Federation have been locked in a low-intensity conflict intermittently since 1991.
[BBC] [Novaya Gazeta] [The Sun] [Photo courtesy Robin Utrecht/AFP/Getty Images via Doy News]