No information on Chechen gay killings claim

DEATH. By Justin Moran Thu

Russia's most famous campaigning newspaper said on Friday it had appealed to the Kremlin to protect its staff after Chechen clerics said the paper faced "retribution" for alleging that gay men in Chechnya were being tortured and killed.

Russian activists claim the victims - gay or suspected of being gay - are being held at a detention center near the Chechen town of Argun.

Chechnya is a Muslim-majority autonomous southern Russian republic.

Russian leaders on Friday said there is no "reliable information" regarding the purge. The publication caused calls to investigate the published data from the world community and angry denials of official Chechen representatives.

On Friday, the former Vice President responded to growing concerns among worldwide governments and human rights groups who have been pressuring the U.S.to take action and address the Chechen crisis with Russian Federation.

Novaya's report also caused outrage among Chechnya's Muslim clerics, who adopted a resolution saying it had insulted the dignity and Islamic faith of Chechen men and society.

The newspaper wrote that the resolution "encouraged religious fanatics to violence against journalists" and called the Russian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists.

Earlier this week, 50 members of the United States Congress signed a letter calling for an investigation into the homophobic purge.

It claimed Chechen authorities were attempting a "complete cleansing" of homosexuals.

He added: "Russia's abuses can not be ignored".

Then, days ago, we were horrified to discover that Chechyna had opened up concentration camps where, according to reports, gay men are being tortured with electric shocks, and beaten to death. "Especially against actions that could pose a threat to the security and life of journalists". His spokesman Alvi Karimov called Novaya's report "an absolute lie", saying there were no gay men in Chechnya to be persecuted. The only Republicans to sign were Carlos Curbelo, Charles Dent and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Many believe that these numbers are understated.

"These are acts of persecution and violence on an unprecedented scale in the region, and constitute serious violations of the obligations of the Russian Federation under worldwide human rights law", the experts said.

Cross-party British MEPs have sent Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson a letter urging them to meet with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UK.

Mr Johnson tweeted: "Outrageous Chechnya govt supports rather than stops ill-treatment of #LGBT people".

Novaya Gazeta said in a statement on Friday that it fears for the safety of its journalists after exposing the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, a Muslim-majority republic of Russian Federation. It said at least three of them had been killed.

"The statement by the regional Government, implying that such treatment towards LGBT people is acceptable, is particularly abhorrent".

On Thursday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the release of the men and an end to their persecution.

The Kremlin said they were monitoring the situation.

"Russia's global human rights obligations require them to protect citizens who may be at risk of persecution".

"We expect the Russian government to fulfill its obligations to this end, and to uphold the rule of law".

Mr Johnson's comments come after Liberal Democrat leader questioned his continued silence on the issue. Reports have been backed up by the Human Rights Watch as well as men who have been detained, beaten, tortured or otherwise punished.

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