Police in the predominantly Muslim republic allegedly rounded up more than 100 gay men and killed at least three
In the face of growing international concern about reported detentions and killings of gay men in Chechnya, Russian president Vladimir Putins 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.
Chechen authorities have denied the reports. But the UNs high commissioner for human rights and prominent international organisations 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.
Novaya Gazeta said in a statement that it fears for the safety of its journalists after exposing the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, a Muslim-majority republic of Russia.
The newspaper referred to a large gathering in Chechnyas main mosque earlier this week which threatened those reporting the story with reprisals. The papers editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, called on authorities to investigate the threats.
The Russian office of Amnesty International echoed the concern about the gathering of Chechen elders and clergymen. It 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 says it considers this resolution as a threat of violence against journalists.
In Washington, former US vice president Joe Biden issued a statement condemning the persecution and abuse of gay men in Chechnya. The human rights abuses perpetrated by Chechen authorities and the culture of impunity that surrounds them means that these hate crimes are unlikely to ever be properly investigated or that the perpetrators will see justice, he said.
Biden also called on the current US administration to live up to its promises to advance human rights for everyone by raising this issue directly with Russias leaders.