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Before U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 world leader summit, numerous LGBTQ and human rights organizations signed onto an open letter urging Trump and his Secretary of State to condemn the ongoing purge of LGBTQ people from the semi-autonomous Russian state of Chechnya. It’s doubtful Trump will do so since people in his own administration have no idea whether he’s even aware of the purge.
More troubling though are recent reports that the arrests and detainments of LGBTQ Chechens has continued following weeks of silence from the region.
The Russian LGBT Network network, a local organization which has helped approximately 40 gay and bi Chechens escape the region, says it has “received more calls from Chechnya in the last 72 hours” and have “credible evidence that arrests are happening again.”
Igor Kochetkov of the Russian LGBT Network said:
“My colleagues and I have seen first hand the pain and suffering of those who have survived the horror of illegal arrest and torture. 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. We urge G20 leaders to stand on the right side of history and do their part to help protect innocent civilians in Chechnya.”
The network has repeatedly provided updates about the region’s anti-LGBTQ purge to worldwide media.
Chechen officials thwarted Russia’s investigation into the purge by literally burying evidence and threatening the families of detained men into signing false affidavits claiming that nothing out of the ordinary has happened. It’s unlikely Russia will take any further actions — especially since Russian authorities initially dodged questions and then prematurely dismissed reports of anti-LGBTQ violence there.
Vice News also visited the alleged detainment and torture sites (see video above) and interviewed Chechen officials who denied any such detainments or torture.
Featured image by strixcode via iStock