Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has said in a recent interview with HBO Real Sports that he believes 'honour killings' of LGBTQ+ people would be justified and defended.
Kadyrov runs the Akhmat Fight Club gym and the Akhmat MMA competition, so was being interviewed by HBO as a part of a program highlighting the country's sport industries.
Kadyrov expressed that he would defend families who had committed an honour killing of a relative they believed to be homosexual or bisexual.
“If we have such people here, then I’m telling you officially, their relatives won’t let them be, because of our faith, our mentality, customs and traditions,” Kadyrov said. “Even if it’s punishable under the law, we would still condone it."
“Even if [honour killings are] punishable under the law, we would still condone it."
Kadyrov has previously denied that gay people even exist in Chechnya, and did so once again in the interview with HBO.
Journalist David Scott asked him about “the alleged roundup, abduction and torture of gay men in the Republic”.
Kadyrov furiously responded, "Why did he come here? What’s the point of these questions?
“This is nonsense. We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada."
He reiterated that any gay people must be removed so Chechnya can be "purified":
"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."
Kadyrov also spoke of Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper that published the original reports of the abduction and murder of LGBTQ+ men in Chechnya: “They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people. God damn them for what they are accusing us of. They will have to answer to the Almighty for this.”
2. Kadyrov says if there are any gay people in Chechnya they should be removed in order to purify the blood of the Chechen people. pic.twitter.com/oTshkbFGLO
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) July 14, 2017
According to one report, Kadyrov allegedly previously pledged to 'eliminate' the LGBTQ+ community from Chechnya by the beginning of Ramadan, which was on May 26.