Happy Hour News Briefs
Hey guys, remember a week ago when a Chechen government spokesperson denied that there are any gay people being detained in that province, insisting that “you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic”?
Guess what?! He was only kidding, of course there are gay people in Chechnya. And yes, they are being detained. And tortured. In concentration camps.
The camp was reportedly set up by Chechen forces in a former military headquarters in the town.
The newspaper reports allegations that the Speaker of the Parliament of Chechnya was among officials to visit the site, though the claims have not been substantiated.
The detainees face electric shock torture and violent beatings, while some of them have been held to ransom and used to extort their families.
The Russian LGBT Network, which is running a support line for men fleeing the region, has confirmed the reports.
LGBT activist Svetlana Zakharova said: “Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region.
And of course the denials are chilling:
“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic. If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” Karimov told Interfax.
Um, so what does that mean?
Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, a human rights activist with the International Crisis Group, told The Guardian that she has been fielding similar reports.
“It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya, where homophobia is intense and rampant,” Tanya Lokshina, a representative for Human Rights Watch, wrote of the situation. “LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to ‘honor killings’ by their own relatives for tarnishing family honor.”
And now you know why the US Religious Right is so enamored with ol’ Pooty-poot: Putin hates the same people that they hate, and that’s all it takes to get them to be your BFF. You think I’m kidding?