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Chechnya’s gay concentration camp has been destroyed and moved to new location

May 25, 2017

Authorities say prisoners at Chechnya’s gay concentration camp have been moved to a new location.

Trusted local newspaper Novaya Gazetta reported that men were being rounded up and sent to the prison earlier this year.

When the Investigative Committee of Russia arrived at the location listed in the media and by former inmates, they found the site derelict.

Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov

The location of the original camp was buried and covered with construction debris, with nobody on the site.

The Russian LGBT Network fear the men have been moved away to a new prison.

Investigators say they have learned prisoners are believed to have been moved to a Special Police Force training base in Terek – roughly 60km north in Argun.

However the force was denied entry to the new location, being told “training is taking place”.

Novoya Gazeta has also claims Chechen security forces are exerting pressure on relatives of victims and fugitives.

The newspaper says authorities are now “demanding they sign a statement with the standard text stating: ‘their son (or brother) [FULL NAME] left the republic to work in Moscow in late February. There is no connection to the Chechen police’.”

Petition: Stop the persecution of gay men in Chechnya

The Russian LGBT Network has helped to evacuate 42 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.”

But in a letter to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Russian authorities wrote that there were “no victims of persecution, threats or violence” in Chechnya.

He added that articles published in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and elsewhere constituted an “excuse for the beginning of a propaganda campaign against Russia around the world”.

Journalists at Novaya Gazeta who exposed the purge have been forced into hiding as they have received numerous threats from the largest mosque in the region, which has declared jihad against the newspaper.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks with Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov

Last month, human rights experts who form the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council released a press statement titled: “End abuse and detention of gay men in Chechnya”.

“We would like to note that the Russian system of government is of a democratic nature and we are calling to rely on objective and reliable data – and not on rumours and speculation – to analyse the political developments in our country,” Alushkin finished.

Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied that there have ever been any gay men to persecute in the region, instead calling them “fake” Chechens.

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.

Tanya Lokshina, from the Human Rights Watch, said that Chechen authorities had been conducting “extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel and degrading treatment” over the span of the last two decades.

Kadyrov has also pledged to “eliminate” the gay community in Chechnya by the start of Ramadan.

Britain’s deputy foreign secretary revealed the terrifying threat from the Chechen leader while taking an urgent question on the situation in parliament last month.

More: Chechnya, concentration camps, gay men, kadyrov, LGBT, novaya gazetta, Russia, torture, Vladimir Putin

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