Gay rights supporters demonstrate in Russia's St. Petersburg

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 19, 2017

According to the document, the European Parliament members "are deeply concerned at reports of arbitrary detention and torture of men perceived to be gay in Chechnya (Russian Federation) and condemn Chechen government statements denying the existence of homosexuals in their country and inciting violence against" LGBT people. Now Lithuania has become one of the first countries to grant two of those persecuted refuge, while the United States denied their visa requests.

After reports of gay men in Chechnya being sent to internment camps and murdered, it's now been reported that the U.S. is turning away gay men seeking refuge.

Svetlana Zakharova, a representative for the group Russia LGBT Network, told BuzzFeed "negotiations have been difficult" with countries that could provide safe haven for these queer refugees. On the same day, Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova suggested that reports about the alleged persecution of individuals, who were of non-traditional sexual orientations in Chechnya could be a provocation.

"You can not arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic".

A US State Department spokesperson said in a statement provided on background that the department could not comment on the visa denials: "As visa records are confidential under USA law, we are unable to discuss individual cases".

On April 20, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that allegations about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya were groundless. Law enforcement and security agency officials under control of the ruthless head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, torturing and humiliating the victims. "The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground". In a statement, the USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said: "If true, this violation of human rights can not be ignored".

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