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House LGBT Caucus Denounces Attacks on Gay Men in Chechnya

Apr 12, 2017
Press Release

1727 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515

Date: April 12, 2017     Contact:  Roddy Flynn, (202) 226-7572



House LGBT Caucus Denounces Attacks on Gay Men in Chechnya

Washington D.C.-  The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus denounced reports of hundreds gay men being arrested, detained, and tortured in Chechnya, an autonomous, predominantly Muslim subject of Russia. Additional reports indicate that several of the detained individuals have been murdered in custody. On April 10th 2017, Representatives Cicilline and Lowenthal led a bipartisan letter of 50 Members of Congress urging Secretary Tillerson to speak out publicly against these reports and to pressure the Russian government to investigate and stop the violence and arrests.

"The situation in Chechnya is horrific,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI-01). “Chechen authorities are acting in clear violation of international law. Secretary Tillerson needs to clearly condemn these actions during his visit to Moscow. These abuses cannot be tolerated."

“These reports coming out of Chechnya regarding the targeted arrests and murders of gay men are appalling,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Vice-Chair Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47). “The most fundamental internationally-accepted human rights are the right to life, liberty, and security of person. I stand with the LGBT community in the Chechen Republic, and I call on Secretary Tillerson to denounce these atrocities and I call on the Russian and Chechen authorities to immediately halt these arrests and prosecute those who have tortured and murdered innocent people”.

According to multiple reports by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and Russian activists, over 100 gay men have been arrested by local law enforcement, detained in separate prisons, and tortured. At least three are known to have been murdered in extrajudicial killings, with more deaths suspected. The uptick in violence reportedly began in early March in response to efforts by Russian LGBT activists to apply for permits to host Pride parades in neighboring towns. A spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov -an ally of Vladimir Putin- denied the allegations, stating “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic”.

Please contact Roddy Flynn at 202-257-8416 or with press inquiries.

The mission of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. The bi-partisan LGBT Equality Caucus is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and around the world. By serving as a resource for Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on LGBT issues, the Caucus works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and wellbeing for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.