Men Who Escaped Deadly Gay Purge Arrested & Returned To Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya, denies reports of the deadly gay purge in his country
Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic in ‘Welcome To Chechnya’

Two gay men who escaped from the deadly gay purge in Chechnya in April 2020 were discovered in Russia, detained by Russian police and are being returned to their country.

From Pink News:

Salek Magamadov and Ismail Isayev escaped homophobic Chechnya, the site of deadly so-called gay purges, in June 2020. The Russian LGBT Network helped them relocate to Nizhny Novogorod, a city around 400 kilometres east of Moscow.

According to their lawyer Alexander Nemov, Magamadov and Novogorod had been arrested in April 2020 and tortured by the Chechen special police for running an opposition Telegram channel.

On Thursday (4 February), the Russian LGBT Network reported that the pair had gone missing.

The network’s assistance coordinator had received a call from one of the men that day around 3pm and heard screaming in the background. Nemov arrived at their apartment 30 minutes later and described seeing evidence of a scuffle.

Upon submitting a missing persons report, the lawyer found out that the two men had been handed over to the Chechen police. They are now being forcefully returned to their hometown, Gudermes.

Sadly, Novogorod and Magamadov were found to be missing on the same day that President Biden called for LGBTQ rights to be promoted and respected around the world.

Since 2017, there have been hundreds of reports of the deadly gay purge in Chechnya consisting of abductions, detentions, and torture (sometimes resulting in death) perpetrated against those in the LGBTQ community..

Ramzan Kadryov, the leader of Chechnya, has casually denied such reports while denying the very existence of any LGBTQ people in his country.

In 2017, the United States placed sanctions against Kadyrov due to the hideous atrocities.

News Round-Up: September 10, 2020

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (screen capture via HBO Sports)

Some news items you might have missed:

The Daily Beast: A Russian social media dissident was captured in Chechnya and forced to sit on a glass bottle as an act of apology to Putin’s favorite enforcer, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (above).

OUT: Jussie Smollett in a recent Instagram Live chat, “From the very, very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.” The gay Empire actor was referencing his January 2019 claim that two men attacked him near his Chicago apartment while spewing racist and homophobic slurs, physically assaulting him, and hanging a noose around his neck. The police alleged it was a false report.

Edge Media: Actor Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery, Rent) and an anonymous accuser have filed a civil lawsuit in New York State court Manhattan against Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey for alleged sexual assaults in the 1980s.

Oscar winner Kevin Spacey (screen capture via YouTube)

NY Daily News: The Trump administration has secretly siphoned nearly $4 million away from a program that tracks and treats FDNY firefighters and medics suffering from 9/11 related illnesses. The Treasury Department mysteriously started withholding parts of payments — nearly four years ago — meant to cover medical services for to firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics treated by the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program.

The Advocate: Donald Trump has unveiled a new shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, and it includes such anti-LGBTQ+ types as Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley as well as the lawyer who defended the Defense of Marriage Act.

Washington Blade: The venerable LGBTQ news outlet has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. “There’s no reason for any informed American voter to grant Trump another four years. There’s even less reason for LGBTQ voters to support him, no matter what the hypocrites at Log Cabin tell you.”

Election 2020: A new campaign ad from Joe Biden hits Donald Trump over the revelations Trump knew the severity of the coronavirus for months while telling the American people “it’s like the flu.”

Chechen President Banned From U.S. Over Reports Of LGBTQ Torture

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (screen capture via HBO Sports)

I expect the Trump administration will tout this as part of its “great record” on LGBTQ issues, but in the end, I’m not sure it actually DOES anything of consequence.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that Ramzan Kadyrov, president of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, has been banned from entering the U.S. under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020.

Section 7031(c) “requires the Secretary of State to bar from U.S. entry” foreign officials about whom the Secretary has credible information indicating that they have been involved, directly or indirectly, in “gross violation of human rights.”

You’ll note the statute says “requires” so let’s not give Pompeo too much credit here.

Today’s announcement also affects Kadyrov’s immediate family members. That said, it’s not clear Kadyrov or his family had any plans to visit the U.S. any time soon.

Plus, Section 7031(c) will expire on September 30, 2020, unless Congress extends it by a continuing resolution or restated in a new law.

A statement issued by the State Department says this action is being taken “due to Kadyrov’s involvement in gross violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic.”

The Department says it has received extensive credible information that Kadyrov is responsible for numerous human rights violations including torture and extrajudicial killings.

In 2018, the United States joined fifteen other nations in creating a fact-finding mission into “horrific reports of abuses against LGBTI persons” and others who were targeted by Kadyrov. The subsequent report found that “harassment and persecution, arbitrary or unlawful arrests or detentions, torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions” had taken place.

The State Department says it is now concerned Kadyrov may be “using the excuse of the coronavirus pandemic to inflict further human rights abuses on the people of the Chechen Republic.”

Kadyrov, who was appointed president of Chechnya in 2007 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly denied not only the allegations of torture and murder but that gay people even exist in his country.

Human rights activists have been sounding the alarm for years that Kadyrov had launched a series of state-sponsored anti-gay purges across the highly conservative, traditional Muslim country.

In May 2017, the Human Rights Watch shared one detainee’s description of the horrific treatment he’d been subjected to in an unofficial prison: “They electrocuted us, beat us with pipes, kicked us, and punched us, they made other inmates beat us, they called us names, spat in our faces.”

The U.S. announced sanctions against Kadyrov in December 2017, including visa bans and asset freezes, under the 2012 Magnitsky Act.

The BBC reported at the time that Kadyrov responded by “mocking the US move in an Instagram post in which he said ‘a sleepless night is waiting for me.'”

He added he was “proud” to be “out of favor with the special services of the USA.”

The new film Welcome to Chechnya, which debuted on HBO June 30, documents the horrific persecution of LGBTQ people in Chechnya.

News Round-Up: May 20, 2020

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic in HBO’s ‘Welcome To Chechnya’

Some news items you might have missed:

Oregon Live: A gay man recently became angry with his mother when she didn’t know how to respond when he introduced his new boyfriend who is HIV-positive. She fears if they stay together and have children the new boo might infect the future/possible kids. She wrote to the popular column ‘Ask Amy’ for advice.

CBS Detroit: A Wisconsin woman who has taken hydroxychloroquine for 19 years to treat lupus has tested positive for COVID-19. The woman, a self-described Trump supporter, says she only left her home to go the grocery store. She told CBS News she thought she would be safe because of what Donald Trump has said about the drug.

HBO: From Academy Award-nominated director David France comes Welcome to Chechnya, a powerful and eye-opening documentary about a group of activists risking their lives to confront the ongoing anti-LGBTQ persecution in the repressive and closed Russian republic of Chechnya.

Politico: More than 40,000 National Guard members currently helping states during the coronavirus health threat will face a “hard stop” on their deployments on June 24 — just one day shy of many members becoming eligible for key federal benefits like education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill and/or early retirement.

Bloomberg News: Researchers are finding evidence that patients who test positive for the coronavirus after recovering aren’t capable of transmitting the infection, and could have the antibodies that prevent them from falling sick again.

AZ Central: Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) dropped four percentage points in a month trailing Democrat Mark Kelly by 13 points, according to the latest tracking poll by OH Predictive Insights. The same poll in April favored Kelly 51% to McSally’s 42%, and now in May, it’s 51%-38%. The poll shows independents breaking more than 2-1 for Kelly.

TikTok: Since the fan on my two-year-old laptop sometimes goes into high gear for no apparent reason, I clicked on this. I had no idea computers could get so filthy inside.

U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Anti-LGBT Chechen President Freezing Assets, Banning US Entry

Ramzan Kadyrov

Virulently anti-gay Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has been banned from entering the United States and had financial assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department.

From Reuters:

The new sanctions blacklisted Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

U.S. authorities accused Kadyrov of overseeing “an administration involved in disappearances and extrajudicial killings.”

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed the sanctions, which freeze the banks accounts of those targeted, under a 2012 law known as the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act imposed visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials linked to the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian auditor and whistleblower. The act also seeks to hold responsible those U.S. authorities allege orchestrated or benefited from the death of Magnitsky.

Kadyrov is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and is also credited with overseeing what became known as the “gay purge,” the systematic rounding up and killing of dozens of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya this year.

Kadyrov has denied any LGBT people even live in Chechnya.

Also sanctioned today was Ayub Kataev, a prison warden and head of a branch of the Chechen internal affairs ministry, who denied reports of anti-gay killings.

GLAAD was, understandably, thrilled by the news issuing this statement:

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today welcomed the inclusion of Ramzan Kadyrov to the list of suspected human rights abusers who have any assets held in U.S. banks frozen and are barred from entry into the United States under the Magnitsky Act.

Authorities in Chechnya have detained and attacked over 100 LGBTQ men because of their perceived sexual orientation and at least 27 men have reportedly been killed by Chechen government officials as of June 2017. Since then additional tragic stories of killings and disappearances of LGBTQ men and woman have been reported.

“Sanctioning those responsible for the horrendous anti-LGBTQ persecution in Chechnya, including Ramzan Kadyrov, is a step towards holding human rights abusers accountable for their atrocities and was a needed action to show that human rights must be prioritized above the personal politics of this administration,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “We cannot stop here as we face a growing epidemic of anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination around the world that must be swiftly and fully addressed.”

President Of Chechnya Tells REAL SPORTS Gays Should Be Removed To “Purify The Blood” Of Chechen People

HBO’s Real Sports is the first western outlet to score an interview with Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, who is one of Putin’s strongest allies.

Real Sports procured the interview in part because it is doing a piece on MMA in Chechnya.

At one point during the interview, Kadyrov says that if there are any gay people in Chechnya they should be removed in order to purify the blood of the Chechen people.

Oh – and then there’s the part where Kadyrov says “we will put the world on its knees and screw it from behind.”

He seems nice, huh?

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov Denounces Claims Of Gay Persecution

President Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of Chechnya, took to his social media accounts to denounce allegations that gay men are being rounded up, tortured and killed in his country.

Kadyrov says that the claims are an attack meant to “blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.”

The Washington Post reports:

The leader of Chechnya has lashed out at international organizations that have strongly criticized the Russian region for reportedly persecuting and killing gays.

The respected newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported two weeks ago that gay men were being detained and beaten in Chechnya and said at least three had been killed.

Since then, international rights groups have denounced the claimed violence and asked Russia to intervene.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said on his social media account Sunday that he had met with the region’s human rights council and proclaimed that rights have undergone a “grandiose” improvement in Muslim-majority Chechnya.

Kadyrov says international organizations are conducting a “massive information attack … using the most unworthy methods, reality is distorted, attempts are being made to blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.”

Kadyrov has also declared that the allegations can’t possibly be true because there really aren’t any gay people in Chechnya – “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”

Chechnya Opens Gay Concentration Camps

Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov

The Washington Post reports that there is a full-on war on gays in Chechnya with over 100 men already

Ramzan Kadyrov is unlike any other provincial leader in Russia. He rules the republic of Chechnya with brute force and enjoys the indulgence of President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. Mr. Kadyrov keeps order in Chechnya, and Mr. Putin keeps out of his way. Now this deal has apparently led to barbaric treatment of gay men in the traditionally conservative Muslim society.

The crusading newspaper Novaya Gazeta published a startling article April 1 that reported Mr. Kadyrov’s armed thugs were detaining and executing gay men, with more than 100 men already seized, three of them known to be dead and many others possibly murdered in extrajudicial “honor” killings. A respected human rights expert, Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, Russia project coordinator for the International Crisis Group, told the New York Times and the Guardian that she had been receiving similar reports.

According to the Novaya Gazeta report, the sweep began when a Moscow gay rights group began filing requests for demonstrations in Russia’s provincial cities. Although the group had not focused on the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region, including Chechnya, the petitions galvanized a local drive to round up gay men. “In Chechnya, the command was given for a ‘prophylactic sweep’ and it went as far as real murders,” Novaya Gazeta reported, saying the authorities searched for closeted gay men partly by posing as men seeking dates on social media websites. The newspaper also noted that none of the men detained had been open about their homosexuality in a society where it is still strictly taboo.

Mr. Kadyrov’s spokesman brushed off the report, saying no one in the republic is homosexual. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” Alvi Karimov said to Interfax. “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”

The Daily Mail offers further details, reporting that a concentration camp has been set up in Chechnya, and gay men are being tortured with electricity and being beaten, sometimes to death.

The beatings are apparently meant to coerce the names of other gay men from the prisoners.

Tanya Lokshina, from Human Rights Watch in Moscow, said: ‘For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya.

‘These days, very few people in Chechnya dare speak to human rights monitors or journalists even anonymously because the climate of fear is overwhelming and people have been largely intimidated into silence.

‘Filing an official complaint against local security officials is extremely dangerous, as retaliation by local authorities is practically inevitable.

‘It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya, where homophobia is intense and rampant. LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to “honour killings” by their own relatives for tarnishing family honour.’

An interesting twist in this story is the rumor that Kadyrov could be a closeted gay man.

LGBT activist Aaron Baldwin shared several pics of Kadyrov with various men on Facebook, including this one of Timati, or Mr. BlackStar as he calls himself. The rapper and producer is rumoured to be Kadyrov’s lover.

This pic is reportedly from Timati’s Instagram, deleted soon after. The rapper is purported to be in Kadyrov’s bed on his private jet.