The Moscow Times reported yesterday that the known number of camps in Russia's Chechen Republic where gay men are being detained has increased to at least six secret prisons across the region. The previous claims centered on two jails in the Chechen villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt. Now Novaya Gazeta and The Moscow Times have claimed that at least four more prisons are illegally holding gay men based on their sexual orientation.
The men, who face physical beatings and electric shocks, are only released after their families offer large bribes to the police, the outlet wrote.
The newspaper also claimed that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov knew about the crackdown, despite his repeated denials that such jails did not exist.
In a meeting with Putin, Kadyrov named one of the men which had allegedly been killed due to his sexual orientation, Novaya Gazeta reported. The man's identity was known to journalists, but had not been published by the press.
“The very fact that Kadyrov was the first to name [this man] proves that the head of Chechnya was aware of this situation,” Novaya Gazeta wrote. – The Moscow Times
The Novaya Gazeta also reported that the speaker of the Chechen Parliament, Magomed Daudov, had visited one of the prisons where gay men were being held.
Denial of the camps still continues. What is more bizarre is that a Kadyrov's spokesperson (Alvi Karimov) claims that gay people "simply do not exist" in the republic. He stated:
"If there were such people in Chechnya, their relatives would send them somewhere from whence they could not return.”
We thank the Russian papers for risking so much to report these awful crimes against humanity. Novaya Gazeta journalists have faced a number of death threats following the reports, with envelopes full of white powder sent to their offices on a number of occasions.
h/t: The Moscow Times