In early April, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a story regarding gay men being detained, tortured, and sometimes killed in the Russian republic of Chechnya.
The article claims that over 100 homosexual men in the "traditionally conservative Muslim society" had been rounded up and placed in a newly established and secret prison.
A man identified as one of the individuals held there said he was a victim of violence, which was used in an attempt to get him to reveal the identities of other gay men.
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Other reports of detainees being subjected to electric shock and other forms of brutality emerged as well.
The paper said it had confirmed the deaths of three of them, though many more casualties likely occurred.
Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, a human rights activist with the International Crisis Group, told The Guardian that she has been fielding similar reports.
"It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya, where homophobia is intense and rampant," Tanya Lokshina, a representative for Human Rights Watch, wrote of the situation. "LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to 'honor killings' by their own relatives for tarnishing family honor."
Alvi Karimov, a spokesperson for the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the allegations.
"You cannot arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic. If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return," Karimov told Interfax.