Gay men attempting to escape torture in Chechnya are being turned away by the United States.
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.
A spokesperson for Russia LGBT Network told Buzzfeed news that the organisation is having “difficulty” securing visas that would allow the men to escape torture and possible death.
While the spokesperson refused to name all of the countries that are pushing back, they did say: “We were informed that the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya.”
However, the U.S State Department refused to comment on the claims, responding: “As visa records are confidential under U.S. law, we are unable to discuss individual cases.”
It comes as no surprise, as according to White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump may not have even been informed about the situation.
During a conference last week, after reading a briefing, a reporter asked why there was no mention of the events during Trump’s recent meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov .
“Ah, look, I mean a lot of times there are parts of the conversation that aren’t specifically included in a readout… but I’m not aware, I have not had that conversation,” she replied.
“So I do not know, I was not part of that meeting. I cannot speak to every detail and I would have to refer you to the readout on the specifics of what I know was discussed.”
Asked if Trump had been brief at all on Chechnya, she added, “That is something I would have to get back to you on. I am not 100% sure.”