Russia has concluded its investigation into the shocking abuse of gay men in Chechnya.
Horrifying accounts of brutality and killings have been emerging from the largely self-governing Russian republic over the last month, after Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay and bisexual men aged 16-50 had been detained by authorities over the last few months.
Russia promised to investigate the claims, but they’ve now concluded that there are no such human rights abuses being carried out in the country.
“Authorized official government bodies of the Russian Federation, in cooperation with the government of the Chechen Republic, investigated the claims made by journalist Elena Milashina in her articles published in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and in other Russian media outlets,” said press ambassador for the Russian embassy in Israel, Dmitry Alushkin.
“In the building—which in the past belonged to the military government (address: 99B Kadyrov Street, in the city of Argun) and called in the articles a ‘secret prison’—is a storeroom, while a parking lot is located on the nearby space.”
“There are no victims of persecution, threats or violence,” he adds. “Neither law enforcement authorities nor the [U.N.] Human Rights Council… have received complaints on this matter,” he added.
Despite the growing evidence of mass targeting of gay men in the region, a spokesperson for Chechnya’s Russian-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, recently denied the reports, insisting that gay people do “not exist” in the republic.
“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”