Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported in early April that police in the Muslim republic of Chechnya have rounded up more then 100 men suspected of homosexuality. The men captured were then thrown into what reporters call “modern day concentration camps” where they are being tortured and killed.
Chechnya denies the capturing and torturing of gay men, saying it was a “April Fools Joke” when they were first reported, but later a Chechen spokesman said there are no gay people living in the country.
A few men managed to escape the camps, like Ruslan (not his real name) who was taken away from his wife and children a few weeks ago by the government. Currently, Ruslan is in a safe house with only six other escapees. About 60 men have fled Chechnya in recent weeks in hope of freedom.
Ruslan was interviewed and explained his time in the camp: “When they brought me in, I denied everything. They started to beat me. To use electric shock. To threaten me. They said they would find out everything anyway, so I should tell them the truth. They have a special black box and they tie wires to your hands and ears, and shock you. The pain is awful. You scream. It’s terrible torture.”
Ruslan says he was interrogated by security forces for over a week.
He says, “It’s not just the security forces, my own relatives won’t forgive me. It’s a permanent stain. Even if the security forces don’t deal with me, my own relatives definitely will.”
Homosexuality is taboo for Chechnya’s religion, and many of these men will marry to hide their sexual orientation. As security forces hunted down men from town to town, one singled out Ruslan.
Freshman Caleigh Coyne says, “I was very angry when I first heard about the camps. You would think at this point if time, with so many people supporting and excepting gay and transgender people that stuff like this wouldn’t happen, yet here we are, mistreating people just because they are a little different.”
After the word of gay men being tortured spread, some Chileans began protesting on April 21 with pink triangles to protest gay concentration camps. The organizer, Luis Larrain, hoped to replicate how Nazis identified gay male prisoners during World War II.
Larrain states he wanted the protest to get the Minister of Chile’s (Muñoz) attention and stop the Russian camps.
More men are being captured every day and sent to these modern day concentration camps, forced to rat out where their fellow gay friends live and work.
Freshman Ashanti Patel says, “This is the first time I’m hearing about these camps, but they should stop. It’s inhumane to torture and kidnap innocent people because their gay.”
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has backed the denials of the Chechen government that men suspected of being gay are being tortured and killed.
The word spread to Hillary Clinton who slammed President Donald Trump for staying silent about the events in Chechnya on April 20th.
Clinton said during her speech, “When governments authorities were confronted with these reports, their response was chilling. They said you cannot arrest or repress people who do not exist. The United States government — yes, this government — should demand an end to persecution of innocent people across the world.”
What are your thoughts on Chechnya’s actions?