Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Chechen Government Trying To Cover It's Tracks
Prisoners at the largest concentration camp for gay men in Chechnya have been moved to an unknown location.
According to Novoya Gazeta, the newspaper that exposed the abuse of gay people in the autonomous Russian region, police have refused to participate in any official investigation.
When it was first revealed gay men were being kept in a concentration camp in Chechnya, former prisoners said they were kept in a former military barracks in Argun.
But when the Investigative Committee of Russia arrived there, with the location and description accurate to former prisoner testimony, the camp had been buried to its roof in construction debris.
Investigators say they have learned any prisoners are believed to have been moved to a Special Police Force training base in Terek – roughly 60km north in Argun.
However they have been denied entry, as ‘training is taking place’.
Activists fear prisoners have been moved to a new, unknown location.
Novoya Gazeta has also claimed of how Chechen security forces are exerting pressure on relatives of victims and fugitives.
The newspaper says authorities are ‘demanding they sign a statement with the standard text stating: ‘their son (or brother) [FULL NAME] left the republic to work in Moscow in late February. There is no connection to the Chechen police’.
Names of the four gay men killed in the region are also known to the newspaper. Three were killed on suspicion of homosexuality. One of these was a member of the National Guard of Russia. A fourth was detained on suspicion of extremism and also killed.
The Russian LGBT Network has helped to evacuate at least 40 gay men from Chechnya, with at least nine leaving Russia completely.
They are calling on many countries to accept refugees, including the UK and US.
‘We are in the process of figuring out which countries are willing to accept the Chechen queer refugees,’ a spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous to protect their safety.
‘We negotiate these possibilities with the foreign authorities and NGOs. This has to be done in order to ensure the victims’ maximum safety and security. We have strong evidence that families of those, who fled Chechnya, already started looking for them.’
As of 25 April, it is believed Chechnya is operating six concentration camps, with at least 200 men illegally detained there.
Kadyrov also said he wants to eliminate the gay community ‘by the beginning of Ramada’, which this year falls on 26 May.
Kadyrov’s spokesperson Alvi Karimov has claimed gay people ‘simply do not exist’ in the republic.
He said: ‘If there were such people in Chechnya, their relatives would send them somewhere from whence they could not return.