Gay Chechens Denied US Visas After Attempting To Escape Horrific Abuse

Gay Chechens Denied US Visas After Attempting To Escape Horrific Abuse

Due to confidentiality concerns, the State Department would not comment on allegations that they denied LGBT Chechen visas.

The report comes after the European Parliament called on Moscow to conduct an investigation into the allegations of torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya.

According to a BuzzFeed News report, a group of around 40 gay men are hiding elsewhere in Russian Federation to escape the country's homophobic persecution, and have had difficulty acquiring visas to leave the country. Linkevičius told media that his government "issued visas to two people from Chechnya who were persecuted due to their sexual orientation".

At least 40 Chechens are in hiding throughout Russia, Russia LGBT Network spokeswoman Svetlana Zakharova told BuzzFeed News. "All the people arrested are homosexual men or perceived as being gay".

Since the Novaya Gazeta report, gay men from Chechnya have given personal accounts to RFE/RL and other media of their escape from the abuse they faced in the region, run by Kremlin-backed strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who rights activists accuse of cultivating a culture of abuse and impunity.

A statement in April from Human Rights Watch, however, echoed the earlier Novaya Gazeta report. "The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred".

On May 5, Moskalkova informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that she had been tackling violations of LGBT people's rights and asked him to issue instructions on setting up an inter-agency working group that would be active in Central Russia instead of Chechnya and receive people's requests if any were made.

"The United States continues to be concerned about the situation in the Republic of Chechnya, where credible reports indicate at least 100 men have been detained on the basis of their sexual orientation", the State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.