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Russian official denies existence of gay concentration camps

That secret prison that people are being tortured in? It’s just a ‘storeroom’

There have been horrifying reports coming from Chechnya over the last few weeks. Back in April, it emerged via Russian paper Novaya Gazeta that over 100 gay men had been abducted and detained in an anti-LGBT “concentration camp” in the region. According to their sources, the men have been subjected to violent beatings, torture, and even, in some cases, murder – with four victims allegedly being killed during the crackdown. It’s also since emerged that parents in the region are being encouraged to “kill” their gay children, with the Chechen president calling for a complete purge of LGBT citizens by Ramadan

Despite the disturbing nature of these allegations, Chechen authorities appear to be doing very little to investigate them. In fact, Russian official Dmitry Alushkin, who works at the Israeli embassy, has now publicly denied all reports – dismissing them as anti-Russian “propaganda”. He’s also claimed that the alleged concentration camp (pictured above) is actually just a “storeroom.”

Alushkin’s emphatic denial was published by Israeli magazine Ha’artez this weekend. “Authorised official government bodies of the Russian Federation, in cooperation with the government of the Chechen Republic, investigated the claims made by journalist Elena Milashina in her articles published in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper and in other Russian media outlets,” he writes in the piece.

“In the building – which in the past belonged to the military government (address: 99B Kadyrov Street, in the city of Argun) and called in the articles a ‘secret prison’ – is a storeroom, while a parking lot is located on the nearby space.” 

“There are no victims of persecution, threats or violence. Neither law enforcement authorities nor the (U.N.) Human Rights Council… have received complaints on this matter.”

Alushkin’s comments come shortly after the publication of numerous victim accounts – all of which reveal the disturbing extent of the anti-LGBT brutality in the region. The journalist who originally broke the story to Novaya Gazeta, Elena Milashina, has also been forced to leave Chechnya following threats to her life. “The situation is far from resolved,” she told Dazed last month. “Detention, torture and murders continue. We have only managed to put this tragedy under a spotlight, not stop it.”

Learn more about what you can do to help stop the torture of gay men in Chechnya here