Tag Archives: Chechnya

U.S. Congress FINALLY Condemns Anti-Gay Violence in Chechnya

Finally,  four months after the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a nearly bipartisan resolution in June condemning the violence and persecution against gay men in Chechnya, last night, the U.S. Senate adopted the resolution by voice vote.

The bipartisan Senate Resolution (S. Res.) 211, which was introduced by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), is nearly identical to the U.S. House of Representatives resolution

S. Res. 211 “calls on Chechen officials to immediately cease the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses.” It also calls on the U.S. government to “continue to condemn the violence and persecution in Chechnya,” something that President Trump and Secretary Tillerson have failed to do publicly

For three months, the Canadian federal government has been secretly spiriting gay Chechen men from Russia to Canada, under a clandestine program.  About a third of those who were being sheltered in Russian safe houses – are now in Toronto and other Canadian cities

Sources estimate that Chechen authorities have rounded up and detained, tortured and in some cases have murdered  more than 100 gay men in secret prisons including the recent revelation that Russian pop-singer  Zelimkhan Bakaev was arrested, tortured and then murdered for being gay.  His body at the writing of this post  has still not been found.

Other than the long awaited U.S .resolution America has done nothing to help save the persecuted gay men of Chechnya.

 

 

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Russian Pop Star Zelimkhan Bakaev, Tortured and Killed In Chechnya Anti-Gay Roundup

 

Sources are reporting that Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev was arrested, tortured, and murdered by by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”

Bakaev was last seen on August 8 in Grozny, where he had come from Moscow for his sister’s wedding

Bakaev’s Instagram account has mysteriously been deleted, but a small Twitter account in his name remains active, offering no recent updates. Earlier this week, Igor Kocketkovof the Russian LGBT Network made a statement to the media that touched on the disappearance, saying:

At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that [Bakaev] was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”

A source close to activists in the region have stated that  Bakaev, 26, was tortured to death. “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” they claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”

Earlier this week, Maxim Lapunov became the first victim of Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’ to come forward publicly with claims of abuse at the hands of authorities.

Igor Kocketkov claimed in Monday’s press conference that other individuals in Chechnya’s entertainment industry were subjected to “torture” as the authorities attempted to gain information on Bakayev.

Our hearts break for the family and friends of Zelimkhan Bakaev and to the LGBT community of Russia and Chechnya.  

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 Since you’re here …

We have a small favor to ask. Unlike many other LGBT blogs and news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall or installed intrusive ads– we want to keep our journalism and historical reporting as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Back2Stonewall’s independent voice takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If you can please help us with a small donation to cover the sites expenses and evolve it would be greatly appreciated.  Just clock on the GoFundMe picture on the right of the page or by CLICKING HERE.

Thank you.

Will Kohler
Back2Stonewall.com

 

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..

Canada Lifts Restrictions On Blood Donations By Gay Men

Canada Grants Asylum to 31 Chechen Gay Men

Canada has discreetly granted asylum to 31 gay men from Chechnya working with the NGO Rainbow Railroad,  a clandestine program unique in the world.

The evacuations, spearheaded by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Kimahli Powell, executive director of the Toronto-based NGO said in a Facebook message on Friday that his organization had been able to help 31 gay men leave Russia and be granted asylum in Canada.

The program has been a closely held secret within the government for months. Non-governmental organizations that were involved have also kept silent, for fear that any leaks could imperil the people they were trying to help.

“Canada accepted a large number of people who are in great danger, and that is wonderful,” said Tanya Lokshina, Russian program director for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization, in a telephone interview. “The Canadian government deserves much praise for showing such openness and goodwill to provide sanctuary for these people. They did the right thing.”

In April, Justin Trudeau and the Canadian  government strongly condemned persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya.

Canada is not the only country to accept gay refugees from Chechnya and other countries in the region. France has accepted at least one person, as has Germany, and two are in Lithuania. An undetermined number of individuals have traveled to European Union countries on tourist visas, and then applied for refugee status.

At this point in time the United States has done nothing.

Gay Journalist Who Uncovered Chechnya’s Gay Purge Faces Deportation To Russia and Possible Death

 

Russia is attempting to deport Ali Feruz (née Khudoberdi Nurmatov) the gay journalist who helped break the story about Chechnya’s imprisonment, torture and murder of gay men back to Uzbekistan — a country that he fled after being imprisoned for not complying with security forces.

Due to a stolen passport and an inability to return to Uzbekistan to get a new one, Russian authorities arrested Feruz on August 1 and claimed he was living in the country illegally — despite his multiple rejected asylum applications.

Ali Feruz  was tortured in and subsequently fled Uzbekistan in 2009 after the country’s notoriously brutal security forces attempted to make him inform on dissident friends. He then came to Russia, where he was born, and began working for the independent investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper where he helped break the Chechnya gay persecution story earlier this year.

Novaya Gazeta reported Nurmatov has been beaten, Tasered and insulted with anti-gay slurs at the detention center outside of Moscow in which he is being held.

“Ali Feruz is openly gay, a human rights activist and a correspondent for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper,” said Denis Krivosheev, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, on Wednesday in a statement. “This is a near-lethal combination for someone who is about to be handed over to Uzbekistan, where ‘sodomy’ is a crime and torture is endemic.”

Nurmatov appealed the ruling. The Associated Press on Friday reported the European Court of Human Rights has temporarily halted his deportation.

 court is scheduled to consider Nurmatov’s appeal on Monday.

Chechnya's Murderous Anti-Gay Purge Leader Gets COVID-19

Chechnya’s Psychotic Dictator Ramzan Kadyrov: Gays ‘Are Not People. They Are Devils” – VIDEO

HBO Real Sports recently went to Chechnya to report on the country’s  Mixed Martial Arts program, which is a training ground for the military and somehow got an interview with its anti-gay leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Pulling no punches HBO’s David Scott questioned Kadyrov about the detention, torture, and executions of gay men in his country.

Kadyrov became irritated at the question: “Why did he come here?,” Kadyrov asked of Scott. “What’s the point of these questions?”

Kadyrov then repeated the crazy assertions that there aren’t any gays in Chechnya, but it was his extended answer that provided a blood chilling look inside the psychotic leader

“This is nonsense. We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any take them to Canada. Praise be to God. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here take them.”

Added Kadyrov:

“They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people. God damn them for what they are accusing us of. They will have to answer to the Almighty for this.”

 
 

Chechnya Resumes It’s Purge and Detentions of Gay Men

 

Russian activists are claiming that Chechen authorities have re-started the arrest and detention of gay and are following-up on a earlier “gay purge” this year.

The Russian LGBT Network and says it has received more calls from Chechnya in the last 72 hours. And it says they contained credible evidence that arrests are happening again.

Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has denied that the purges have taken place. A spokesperson claimed in April that reports were ‘absolute lies and disinformation’ and there were no gay men in Chechnya.

Former detainees gave harrowing accounts of their treatment in the report.

‘It was like a chain. They get one person, go through his phone, torture him, make him name some others… In the place where I was held, we were four [gay men] at first, but several days later we were already 20.’

Igor Kochetkov of the Russian LGBT Network describes how his network sees the ‘first hand the pain and suffering’ those who have survived the ‘horrors’ are facing.

‘Russia is failing in its responsibility to allow its own citizens to live in safety and has also failed to hold anyone to account for the appalling abuses that have already taken place.

Two camps were initially reported on three months ago, based in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt, but further investigations revealed a further four jails for gay people, bringing the total number believed to be in the Chechen Republic up to six.

European leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have both raised the issue publicly during meetings with Vladimir Putin, and the UK government has also expressed concerns.

Donald Trump who met with Vladamir Putin yesterday at the G20 summit has been silent on the atrocities.

Chechnya Ramps Up Gay Concentration Camp Pogram, 100 Detained and 3 Dead

Congress Finally Passes Resolution Condemning Gay Purge and Torture In Chechnya – [TEXT]

 

 

The United States Congress passed a bipartisan resolution on Tuesday condemning anti-gay persecution and violence in Chechnya.

House resolution 351 was introduced on May 23 by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican who has an out transgender son and is a frequent advocate for LGBT rights. Ros-Lehtinen is also a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus.

The resolution calls on the Russian Federation to investigate and halt the reported state violence against gay men in Chechnya and asks the United States government to “demand the release of individuals wrongly detained.”

After the resolution passed, Ros-Lehtinen had strong words for the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We will continue to stand united with the LGBT community and shine a bright light on these atrocities, which are encouraged by the evil Putin regime in Russia, in order to help ensure that those who are responsible for these crimes are held to account for their despicable actions,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.

Men who escaped the reported anti-gay persecution campaign in Chechnya fled to Russia, telling reporters and human rights organizations the harrowing details of the abuses they’d faced at the hands of what they believed were police and the military.

“They dragged me out of the car, started to beat me, humiliate me,” said a Chechen man named Ilya in an interview with French news agency Agence-France Presse (AFP). “They were saying that I was a faggot, a gay person and that such people shouldn’t exist in Chechnya.

“It is now up to President Trump, Secretary of State Tillerson, and our United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to follow through on the consensus of the House,” LGBT Equality Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Alan Lowenthal said, “and bring as much domestic and international political pressure as possible on the Russian government to rein in these deplorable human rights violations.”

 

 

115th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. RES. 351

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 23, 2017

 (for herself, Mr. EngelMr. IssaMr. CicillineMr. Royce of CaliforniaMr. LowenthalMr. Smith of New JerseyMs. NortonMs. SinemaMr. TakanoMr. Sean Patrick Maloney of New YorkMs. TitusMr. GallegoMr. DentMs. Brownley of CaliforniaMs. SpeierMr. GrijalvaMr. MacArthurMr. LoBiondoMr. PalloneMr. CookMr. ConnollyMr. SiresMs. Frankel of FloridaMs. TenneyMr. PocanMs. HanabusaMr. DonovanMr. EspaillatMr. CoffmanMr. FitzpatrickMr. Deutch, and Mr. Schneider) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION:

Condemning the violence and persecution in Chechnya.

Whereas, on April 1, 2017, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that authorities in Chechnya, a republic of the Russian Federation, had abducted, detained, and tortured over 100 men due to their actual or suspected sexual orientation;

Whereas multiple independent and first-hand accounts have subsequently corroborated the Novaya Gazeta report, and describe a campaign of persecution by Chechen officials against men due to their actual or suspected sexual orientation;

Whereas, as a result of this persecution, at least three deaths have been reported and many individuals have been forced to flee Chechnya;

Whereas Chechen officials have denied the existence of such persecution, including through a statement by the spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that You cannot arrest or repress people who don’t exist in the republic.;

Whereas the same spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov has also stated that If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return, and credible reports indicate that Chechen authorities have encouraged families to carry out so-called honor killings of relatives due to their actual or suspected sexual orientation;

Whereas Chechnya is a constituent republic of the Russian Federation and subject to its laws, and Ramzan Kadyrov was installed as the leader of Chechnya by Russian President Vladimir Putin;

Whereas Chechen authorities have a long history of violating the fundamental human rights of their citizens, including through extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances, and torture of government critics;

Whereas Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed reports of persecution in Chechnya and termed them phantom complaints;

Whereas Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova, has also claimed that such reports should not be believed because formal complaints have not been registered with the appropriate authorities;

Whereas the Russian Federation is a participating State of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and thus has agreed to guarantee the fundamental human rights of all of its citizens;

Whereas, on April 7, 2017, the United States Department of State issued a statement saying We categorically condemn the persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation and urging the Government of the Russian Federation to take steps to ensure the release of all those wrongfully detained in Chechnya, and to conduct a credible investigation of the reports; and

Whereas, on April 17, 2017, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a statement saying Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses. We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.: Now, therefore, be it

That the House of Representatives—

(1) condemns the violence and persecution in Chechnya and calls on Chechen officials to immediately cease the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses;
(2) calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to protect the human rights of all its citizens, condemn the violence and persecution, investigate these crimes in Chechnya, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses;
(3) calls on the United States Government to continue to condemn the violence and persecution in Chechnya and demand the release of individuals wrongfully detained; and
(4) affirms that the rights to freedom of assembly, association, and expression and freedom from extrajudicial detention and violence are universal human rights that apply to all persons, and that countries that fail to respect these rights jeopardize the security and prosperity of all their citizens.

Sir Ian McKellen Protests at Russian Embassy in London Over Chechnya “Gay Purge’

Openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen joined hundreds of protesters outside the Russian embassy in London to voice anger against a “purge” of gay men in Chechnya.

McKellen described it as “a matter of principle” to demonstrate outside the Kensington Gardens consulate on Friday to demand that Moscow takes decisive action against those responsible for the brutal persecution.

Despite international condemnation, Chechen and Russian authorities have denied the accusations, according to Amnesty International. A Chechen spokesman even refuted that gay people even lived in the region.

Condemning the stance of Chechen authorities on gay people, McKellen said: “It is possible to think that gay people don’t exist because gay people are so frightened that they daren’t say they exist.

“What a condemnation it is of Chechnya that its authorities should believe that there are no gay people there, and if there were they shouldn’t be – it’s absolutely appalling.

“If gay people are invisible it’s because they are frightened to be themselves and come out, so it’s a condemnation not of gay people but the society they are trying to exist in.”

“Our principles are shared across borders, and the plight of the gay men in Chechnya is the plight of gay men and women throughout Russia.”

Reading a message from the Russian LGBT network to the crowd, he said: “Right now we need you to demand justice, we need you to tell your governments to take action, we need you to accept refugees, we need you to call for a transparent and just investigation that is going to hold those responsible to account.”

After the protest, McKellen laid rainbow roses on a rainbow flag – the symbol of the LGBT movement – outside the embassy.

Newly Elected French President Emmanuel Macron Calls on Putin to Protect Gay Chechens

Newly Elected French President Emmanuel Macron Calls on Putin to Protect Gay Chechens

French president Emmanuel Macron says he has urged Vladimir Putin to ensure that the rights of LGBT people are protected following allegations of a crackdown on gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

The Russian president was in France for talks with Macron, two weeks after his election victory. Macron’s call comes after widespread reports of a brutal campaign by the authorities against gay men in Chechnya, including assaults, torture and murder.

“I emphasized to President Putin…how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities,” Macron said during a news conference with the Russian leader.

France welcomed its first gay refugee from Chechnya on Monday. The refugee’s arrival was confirmed by Joël Deumier, president of French gay right’s group SOS Homophobie, who said more may follow in the coming days

The United States has reportedly been denying visas from gay Chechen men and women seeking escape from the anti-gay country and its current barbaric regime.