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No gays in Chechnya - Kadyrov

Published:Saturday | July 15, 2017 | 2:32 PM
In this file photo, Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov smiles before an international friendly soccer match between Russia and Romania in Grozny, Russia.


Chechnya's leader has harshly denounced claims that his southern Russian republic has tortured and even killed gay men, denying that there even are any homosexual men in his region.

Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has faced wide international criticism since a Russian newspaper reported this spring that his security forces had detained 100 gay men, torturing or killing some of them.

"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," Kadyrov says in an interview with HBO Real Sports cable television show.

HBO released excerpts of the June 30 interview last Friday, where Kadyrov called those making the allegations "devils".

"God damn them for what they are accusing us of," he said.

In the interview excerpts, Kadyrov claimed the United States "is conducting an anti-Russian policy against the country's leadership", but then dismisses the country.

Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia, was devastated by two wars between separatists and Russian forces in the past quarter-century.

Kadyrov's security forces have been widely accused of extensive human-rights abuses, including abductions and killings in Chechnya. A former officer of his security forces has been convicted of the 2015 assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.