According to Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, gay men don't exist in the country — so there can't possibly be any anti-LGBTQ violence.
The leader was interviewed recently by David Scott, from HBO’s Real Sports, and vehemently denied that reports of gay men being tortured and held in concentration camps in Chechnya were true.
“This is nonsense,” he said in response to a question from Scott, the Independent reports. “We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays.”
In the off-chance that gay people do actually exist in Chechnya, though, Kadyrov told Scott that he would suggest taking them to Canada, so that they're far away from Chechnya and "to purify our blood."
The leader went on to call the men who have escaped the camps and detailed the torture they experienced "devils" and said that "they are not people" for accusing the country.
Reports that gay and bisexual men were being captured and tortured in Chechnya first surfaced in April, after Russian newspaper Novoya Gazeta broke the story. Although Vladimir Putin backed an investigation into the claims, the Russian Embassy said that investigations are complete and "there are no victims of persecution, threats or violence."
A report from the Human Rights Watch in May implicated Kadyrov and other top Chechen officials in the violence, and claimed that Kadyrov has "repeatedly condoned honor killings," in which family members kill someone for being gay because it brings shame to the family name.
Given his past and his clearly disdainful feeling for LGBTQ people, it's obvious that we should be taking his denial of the torture with a huge grain of salt.
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