Russian Diplomat Warns Canada About Helping Gay Men Flee Persecution in Chechnya
Last week we reported that Canada had granted asylum to 31 gay men who fled the persecution via a secret underground railroad from the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, where reports of detention, torture and executions
Russian diplomat Kirill Kalinin who is attached to the Russian Embassy in Ottawa has warned Canada that any unsanctioned help to gay Chechens will not be tolerated.
The Globe and Mail reports:
Kirill Kalinin, who is a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Ottawa, said of the Canadian underground railroad operating in his country: “Any legal irregularities, if proven true, shall be duly investigated.” He made the comment in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail, and declined to elaborate on what laws might have been violated.
Because no Canadian government official has spoken about the program on the record, Mr. Kalinin had no further comment, adding, “We do not comment on media reports citing anonymous official ‘sources.’”
Since June, the Canadian government has been identifying people at risk and secretly bringing them from the safe houses to Canada. Government officials said all those who qualified and were willing to come to Canada are now here or safely on the way.
All told, about 70 gay men and women have escaped Chechnya, though a number still remain in Russia.
In May, the Russian LGBT Network said it was working with five countries in Europe and elsewhere to offer asylum to dozens of gay men..