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White House ‘not sure’ if Trump knows of anti-gay purge in Chechnya

Joseph McCormick May 10, 2017

The White House has issued an astounding statement saying that President Trump is “not sure” of the purge of LGBT+ people in Chechnya.

Reports describe how more than 100 gay men have been detained, tortured and in some cases killed in Chechnya.

Victims are reportedly being beaten and tortured with electricity, as well as being forced to live with no water or food.

Vladimir Putin

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was a question by Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, on why there was no mention of the actions toward LGBT + people in Chechnya in a statement about the President’s meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Huckabee Sanders responded: “I’m sorry, could you speak up a little bit.”

Johnson added: “Is the reason why it wasn’t included in the readout is because President is not informed about reports of anti-gay violence in Chechnya?”

Before the White House aide added: “Ah–uh, look, I mean a lot of times there are parts of the conversation that aren’t specifically included in a readout. Umm, but, I’m not aware, I have not had that conversation. So I do not know, I was not part of that meeting. So 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.”

But asked whether President Trump has been briefed at all about the purge, Huckabee Sanders continued: “That is something I would have to get back to you on. I am not one hundred present sure.”

Watch the astounding response below:

“It is shocking that the White House can’t even confirm if President Trump is ‘aware’ of the anti-LGBTQ violence in Chechnya. It seems President Trump is only aware of news that includes his own name,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD.

“If President Trump doesn’t join Ambassador Haley and other world leaders in condemning this humanitarian crisis, it is only further evidence that his Administration is working to force LGBTQ people around the globe back into the closet.”

The Russian LGBT Network has helped to evacuate 40 gay men from the region, with those involved describing the “deadly dangerous” situation they found there.

And the reports have been separately confirmed by Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, both of which cite on-the-ground sources that appear to confirm gay men have been targeted for detention.

In its report, HRW said: “The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground.

“The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred.”

Petition: Stop the persecution of gay men in Chechnya

Following the initial reports, it was revealed that Chechnya authorities are forcing gay men into concentration camps, sparking an outcry from LGBT and human rights activists across the world.

Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov

A number of heart-breaking stories from the region have been shared, including stories of parents of gay people who were issued a warning to kill their children before police killed them in torture camps.

More: Chechnya, Donald Trump, US, White House

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