The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said he condones the killing of gay men by their own families.
In a recent interview with HBO Real Sport’s David Scott, Kadyrov said: ‘If we have [gay] people here, I’m telling you officially their relatives won’t let them be because of our faith, our mentality, customs, traditions.
‘Even if it’s punishable under the law, we would still condone it,’ he added.
The White House has finally spoken out against Chechnya’s treatment of gay people.
US State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said her department found these comments to be ‘very concerning and also upsetting.’
She also claimed the administration was raising the issue with Russian authorities ‘at the highest levels.’
However, both Trump and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have both refused to speak about Chechnya’s human rights abuses with President Vladimir Putin in the past few weeks.
In the same interview, Kadyrov continued with his anti-gay comments: ‘They are devils. They are for sale.
‘They’re not people.
‘God damn them for what they are accusing us of. They will have to answer to the Almighty for this,’ Kadyrov said.
He also claimed Chechnya has no gay people. He said: ‘We don’t have any gays.
‘If there are any, take them to Canada.
‘Praise be to God. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them,’ Ramzan Kadyrov said.
First Western media interview with Ramzan Kadyrov
Scott is the first person to talk to Ramzan Kadyrov from a Western media outlet.
He told SiriusXM: ‘It was incredibly intimidating. I was nervous. I am still nervous.
‘The thing you have to worry about it running afoul of your host, who has very definite views of what story they want told.
‘He’s been able to track down and vanquish his critics as far away as Dubai and Austria,’ he revealed.
On Kadyrov’s attitude to gay people, Scott said: ‘[The country is] a society of fighters held together by sheer force of a strong man.
‘[It] pays a dear price – and certainly anyone who’s not in lock-step with that regime, whether they’re political critics or journalists or gay men – there is no place for any such people in Ramzan Kadyrov’s republic,’ he said.