Chechnya president again denies gay arrests

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

Human Rights Watch says a "brutal campaign" has been waged against LGBTI people in Chechnya in recent weeks, with men severely beaten, "forcibly disappeared" and allegedly murdered on suspicion of being gay.

Kadyrov told Putin it was "embarrassing even to speak" about the issue, apparently alluding to the presence of gay men in Chechnya, but assured him that the reports were all lies.

Organiser Derbhla Mealy said in a statement: "The religious and socially conservative region of Chechnya is attempting to purge its society of gay men and Russian Federation is so far turning a blind eye and allowing it to happen".

A gathering in Grozny's main mosque of 15,000 people passed a resolution which said: "The centuries-old traditions of Chechen society, the dignity of Chechen men, and our faith have all been insulted, and we promise that those behind it will face reprisals, whoever they are and wherever they are".

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

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In a video released by Human Rights First on Thursday, gay Russian men seeking asylum in the United States read testimonials from queer men who say they've been detained and tortured in Chechnya.

Telling fellow politicians the anti-LGBT campaign is "nothing short of officially sanctioned policy from the Chechen authorities, but the Russian Government, who bear ultimate responsibility for their citizens" safety, appear to be looking the other way, and that is scarcely any better'.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, himself far from a friend to the LGBTQ community, has also claimed the Kremlin found no evidence of the arrests and torture of gay and bi men.

A spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT Network, made up of 11 LGBT activist groups, Svetlana Zakharova, said on Tuesday: "We truly believe that when it all is about kidnappings, tortures, and killings, every person, regardless of their beliefs, should have something to say". When he arrived at the man's apartment, there was a group of agents who began beating him.

"I should kill you", his father said. "I was hanging on with my last strength". "Now [the aim] is the extermination of gay men, so that there are none left in the republic". His spokesperson told a Russian government news agency it is "impossible to prosecute those who are not in the republic". Novaya Gazeta reporter Elena Milashina, who first broke the story of anti-gay actions by Chechnya authorities, has had to flee her home in Moscow due to death threats.

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