In early April, Russian publication Novaya Gazeta broke a sensational story claiming gay men, as well as men simply suspected of being gay, were being rounded up, detained, tortured, and even killed in Chechnya.
News.com.au reports that the movement began gaining steam in February when "Chechen police arrested a man under the influence of drugs." AU's translation of the Novaya Gazeta report states that when police officers looked through man's phone, they uncovered "sexually explicit photos and videos...and dozens of contacts of local homosexuals. It is this database that provoked the first wave of arrests and executions."
News.com.au adds that men have allegedly been "electrocuted, beaten with pipes, and forced to insert glass bottles into their anuses."
Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, told Interfax, a Russian news agency, that the story from Novaya Gazeta amounted to "absolute lies and disinformation."
The alleged arrest, detention, torture, and murder of gay men - and suspected gay men - has not been proven. However, the circumstantial evidence is strong enough that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a statement on Monday regarding the issue, which reads:
"We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association.
If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses."