April 14, 2017 12:41 pm
Updated: April 14, 2017 1:21 pm

Russia can’t confirm violence against gay men in Chechnya, Putin spokesperson says

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Russian seamen in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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In the face of growing international concern about reported detentions and killings of gay men in Chechnya, Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s spokesman says the Kremlin does not have confirmed information on the targeted violence.

The respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported this month that police in the predominantly Muslim republic rounded up more than 100 men suspected of homosexuality and that at least three of them have been killed.

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Chechen authorities have denied the reports. But the United Nations‘ High Commissioner for Human Rights and prominent international organizations have urged the Russian government to investigate the reported abuse.

But Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday: “We do not have any reliable information about any problems in this area.”

The Russian office of Amnesty International on Friday called on authorities to investigate human rights violations in Chechnya, a Muslim-majority republic of Russia.

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It also expressed concern about an assembly of Chechen elders and clergymen that reportedly took place several days after the newspaper article and threatened retaliation against those who “insulted the centuries-old foundations of Chechen society and the dignity of Chechen men.”

Amnesty International says it “considers this resolution as a threat of violence against journalists.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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