Shock over 'mass arrests' of gays in Chechnya

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Amid a growing chorus of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the United States "must not sit idly" amid reports of gays being kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Chechnya.

Produced by Human Rights First, the clip features personal accounts of Chechen men who claim to have been abused at the hands of local officials in the Russian republic.

"Gays in Chechnya and the North Caucasus are in lethal danger", Igor Kochetkov, director of the Russian LGBT Network, told the Times.

"Sources have said that he wants the community eliminated by the start of Ramadan".

Novaya Gazeta earlier this month said Chechen authorities have sent gay men to secret prisons that have been described as "concentration camps". But in the middle of this rather routine conversation Kadyrov suddenly mentions "provocative articles about the Chechen Republic, the supposed events... the supposed detentions...".

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

"We are talking about some anonymous people, about phantom complaints", he said, according to RT, a television station the Russian government owns. Police and government officials have also encouraged so-called "honor killings" by outing gay men to their families.

Now it appears their story has changed, and Kadyrov is apparently promising to eliminate all gay people by the start of Ramadan.

Consistent with the Islamic rules implemented in many Muslim-majority countries, coming out as a homosexual is "tantamount to a death sentence" in Chechnya, noted Novaya Gazeta. The Guardian reports Kadyrov has endorsed polygamy, and compulsory wearing of the hijab for women in public places.

"It is obvious to us that this resolution is pushing religious fanatics to massacre journalists", the newspaper's editorial board said.

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After being beaten and tortured by men in military uniform in Russia's Chechnya region, he fled to Moscow but still fears for his life - because he is gay.

But the press secretary for the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, called the reports "lies", and said that there were no gay people in Chechnya. Reveal traces the roots of the anti-gay movement and shows how President Vladimir Putin uses this agenda to quash political dissent, exert influence on neighboring nations and bash the West.

Reports of persecution against gays in Chechnya has drawn ire from the global community. The fact is, Putin is every bit as homophobic as his puppet Kadyrov.

This year's celebration of Ramadan, the most important holiday for Muslims around the world, begins on Friday, May 26.

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