Novaya Gazeta: Chechnya has at least six secret prisons for gays
There are six known secret prisons for homosexuals in the Chechen Republic, reported Novaya Gazeta on Monday. Earlier, the publication specified that one of these prisons was situated in town of Argun; Radio Liberty then learned about the second such institution was located in the village of Tsotsi-Yurt. Novaya Gazeta did not report on the locations of the four remaining prisons.
“We have handed over to Russia’s Investigative Committee the personal data of 26 residents of Chechnya who have been illegally detained and, according to our information, fallen victim to [cruel] extrajudicial punishment,” read Novaya Gazeta’s article. “This list includes people killed only on the basis of suspicion of homosexuality.”
Chechen authorities, noted Novaya Gazeta, categorically deny both the claim that homosexuals are being persecuted in the republic and the very fact of their existence. Authorities have not, however, denied the existence of secret prisons. Chechnya’s Human Rights Council member Heda Saratova has said that the prisons in question do not hold homosexuals, but individuals detained on suspicion of terrorism.
Novaya Gazeta also noted that Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov mentioned the name Khas Tepsurkayev in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the same meeting in which Kadyrov called Novaya Gazeta’s articles on the persecution of homosexuals in the republic “provocative”. According to Novaya Gazeta’s sources, Tepsurkayev is amongst the Chechens detained on suspicion of homosexuality. Tepsurkaev’s name was not made public, the newspaper noted, and the fact that Kadyrov was the first to name the detainee’s name and surname “proves that the head of Chechnya is highly aware of [the details of] this situation.”