Chechen authorities have threatened the parents of gay men—warning that the state will intervene if they don’t kill their sons, according to the Independent.
Reports began emerging at the beginning of April that police in the region had rounded up and tortured over 100 gay men, and that at least three had been killed.
Survivors of the brutal anti-gay purge who have managed to escape and seek refuge in Moscow have spoken out against the repressive regime’s attack on the LGBT+ community.
“We’ve always been persecuted, but never like this,” a victim told France24. “Now they arrest everyone. They kill people, they do whatever they want.
“They tell the parents to kill their child. They say ‘Either you do it, or we will," the victim continued. "They call it: ‘Cleaning your honour with blood.’ They tortured a man for two weeks then they summoned his parents and brothers who all came. Police said to them: ‘Your son is a homosexual – sort it out or we’ll do it ourselves.’”
A spokesman for Ramzan Kadyrov—the President of the Chechen republic—has denied all reports of violence against the LGBT+ community—claiming there is no such thing as a gay Chechen.
“You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told Interfax news agency.
“If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”
Human rights activists and world leaders have been urging Russia to use its influence in the region to investigate the persecution of gay men.
At least 20 LGBT+ activists were arrested in Moscow on Monday for staging a protest against the Chechen regime.