Chechen authorities said they will sue a newspaper who broke the story of gay men being held in concentration camp.
Speaking to Russian news agency Interfax Ruslan Alkhanov, Chechnya’s Minister of Interiors, said Russian Newspaper Novaya Gazeta spread ‘non-fact checked information’.
Alkhanov said authorities had found ‘no evidence’ of gay men being oppressed in the country.
He said the newspaper’s 1 April report, called Honor Killings, made ‘baseless and frivolous’ claims.
‘I ordered an official investigation which was carried out by officers of the Operational Investigative Unit of the Interior Ministry of the Chechen Republic,’ he said.
‘According to its results, no objective evidence was found to substantiate the information disseminated in the media, and the materials from the inspection were sent to the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Chechen Republic in order to make a procedural decision in accordance with Articles 144 and 145 of the Russian Criminal Code.’
After a procedural decision has been made, the minister told Interfax the Chechen Republic is going to sue Novaya Gazeta.
According to Alkhanov, neither the police nor a phone line especially created by the authorities received any calls to complain about harassment.
In early April, news broke about gay men in Chechnya being held in a concentration camp.
Reports spoke of at least 100 men being detained, and three being murdered. Survivors spoke of torture in the camp, in one case by a ‘home made’ electric chair, so they would give up the names of other gay men.
Chechnya is now believed to operate at least six concentration camps, which illegally imprison at least 200 men.
In early May, a report surfaced of a 17-year-old teen being thrown off a 9th floor balcony by his uncle. He wanted to ‘wash off the shame’ from his family, after the teen had been outed as gay.
President Ramzan Kadyrov said he wanted to eliminate the country’s gay community ‘by the beginning of Ramadan’.
Islam’s holiest month starts on 26 May.
Kadyrov’s spokesperson Alvi Karimov has claimed gay people ‘simply do not exist’ in the republic.
He said: ‘If there were such people in Chechnya, their relatives would send them somewhere from whence they could not return.