European Parliament condemns persecution of gay men in Chechnya
The European Parliament on Thursday condemned the persecution of gay men in the Russian autonomous region of Chechnya, calling on local authorities to end arbitrary detentions and torture. The EU Parliament expressed "deep concern" after local authorities in the predominantly Muslim region have been accused of rounding up and torturing gay men.
According to local press reports, two men died while in detention and a third man was killed by his own family in a so-called "honour killing". The European Parliament called on Russia to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and investigate the reportedly coordinated campaign of violence and intimidation against gay men in Chechnya.
The lawmakers also urged EU member states to facilitate asylum procedures for victims, LGBTI people and others threatened by authorities for speaking out against such persecution, including human rights defenders and journalists. Other international organisations, including the United Nations, have demanded an investigation into the reported violence, which Russia has promised to carry out. Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov has shrugged off the allegations.
His spokesman Alvi Karimov said last month in comments carried by the Interfax news agency that "it is impossible to detain and oppress that which simply does not exist in the republic." (dpa)
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