Last year Chechnya’s human rights abuse made headlines worldwide as over 100 were detained in concentration camps for being gay, and around 26 of them reportedly murdered. Despite this, the republic’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said that the allegations are a “myth” designed to destabilise the government.
Kadryov said the reports of misconduct against Chechnya’s gay population, were intended to “plunge Chechnya into chaos”.
According to the Russian TASS news agency, he said: “We have nothing to hide. Our enemies are perfectly aware of this, so they make up various myths about human rights violations in our republic.”
His statement follows a turbulent week as the head of one of Russia’s oldest human rights organisations was arrested. Police claimed they found six ounces of marijuana in Oyub Titiev’s car, but activists questioned the charges as his arrest came less than two weeks after a prominent speaker of Chechen parliament called human rights activists “enemies of the people” and suggested they should be executed.
When his supporters started using the Ingushetia regional office of Memorial as a base and were vocal about his arrest, the location was torched by two masked men.
Previously, President Kadyrov responded to initial concentration camp reports by stating that there were no atrocities taking place since there were “no gays in Chechnya”.