Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova has expressed doubt in regards to the reliability of the information on the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya. “I have suspicions that this is provocation, a false denunciation,” said Moskalkova.
“I am not yet ready to draw conclusions today, but conclusions need to be drawn. Have people actually suffered or does someone want to [create the illusion that that is the case]?” said Moskalkova at a session of the State Duma Committee on the development of civil society.
The commissioner also said that she would need the names of those who have allegedly suffered in order to verify reports of their persecution. Moskalkova has sent five inquiries to various law enforcement agencies in regards to the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya and has received negative answers to each of them. No such crimes have been registered, she said.
In early April, Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 people were detained on suspicion of being homosexuals in Chechnya in recent months. According to the publication, detainees were kept in secret prisons, tortured, and forced to denounce other homosexuals; three people were killed. Chechen authorities called these statements a lie.
On April 14, 2017, Novaya Gazeta urged the Russian government to respond to calls for “religious fanatics to massacre journalists” allegedly voiced by Islamic theologians at a meeting convened in the central mosque of Grozny, Chechnya on April 3. The meeting, according to the publication Grozny-Inform, was attended by 15,000 people. According the Novaya Gazeta’s editorial team, the meeting participants adopted a resolution in which they declared that the journalists had “insulted the centuries-old foundations of Chechen society and the dignity of Chechen men,” as well as their faith. The participants also allegedly promised that their offenders would be “subjected to retribution, wherever and whoever they are, without statute of limitations.”