Chechen authorities have threatened journalists reporting on the news of concentration camps for gay men.
The Russian publication that broke the news, Novaya Gazeta, believes its employees are now under threat.
In a statement, they wrote: ‘We have serious concerns for the safety of our employees.’
When the news broke of the concentration camps on 1 April, little was done by Chechen authorities.
Then, on 3 April, a mosque in the country’s capital held an emergency meeting with Chechen authorities, Islamic scholars and public opinion leaders.
By the end of the meeting, a resolution was agreed upon and written.
The second paragraph reads: ‘In view of the fact that [Novaya Gazeta] insulted the secular foundations of Chechen society and the dignity of men-Chechens, as well as our faith, we promise that retribution will overtake the true instigators, wherever and whoever they may be, without a statute of limitations.’
Novaya Gazeta responded to the threats in a statement: ‘The resolution encourages religious fanatics to violence against journalists.
‘Silence and inaction in this situation make everyone who is capable of anything done, complicit.
‘That is why the Novaya Gazeta continues to work in Chechnya.
‘But we are very aware of the high price we can pay,’ the statement read.
No reaction from Chechen authorities
The Russian LGBT Network told Gay Star News: ‘To this day, neither the Russian Investigative Committee nor the General Prosecutor’s Office reacted in any way to the reports of the criminal activities and Chechnya officials’ statements.’
The activist group is working tirelessly on the ground to support and evacuate those affected.
Svetlana Zakharova told Gay Star News they have received 50 calls from people who need urgent assistance, and have worryingly lost contact with some of them.
On 11 April, Andrey Sabinin, jurist of Human Rights Organization Agora, filed an official complaint to the Moscow Basmanny Court.
The complaint demands the court recognize the lack of action from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
At the end of May, the Russian LGBT Network will present the first public report on the issue.
Sign the petition by Amnesty International to call for action.