Chechnya is being accused of detaining gay men as a way of cracking down on homosexuality in the Russian republic.
International human rights activists said that, according to newly surfaced reports, at least 100 gay men have been arrested in Chechnya, The Huffington Post reported.
Three of the detained men have reportedly been killed, and others are being tortured.
According to federal law enforcement officials, the men who have been arrested are between the ages of 16 and 50, and were apprehended "in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such," The Huffington Post reported, citing Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta.
The arrests were reportedly sparked by pride parade permits that GayRussia.ru, a local LGBTQ rights group, had tried to acquire, The Independent reported.
"The detention and ill-treatment of over 100 gay men in Chechnya is extremely concerning," said Baroness Anelay, the U.K.'s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN, according to The Telegraph. "Reports have also suggested that at least three of these men have been killed. The statement by the regional Government, implying that such treatment towards LGBT people is acceptable, is particularly abhorrent."
"We condemn any and all persecution, and call on the authorities to promptly investigate and ensure that perpetrators of human rights abuses are brought to justice," Anelay added.
"The human rights situation for LGBT people in Russia has deteriorated significantly in recent years and we continue to voice our serious concern with Russian authorities at all levels," Anelay said. "Russia's international human rights obligations require them to protect citizens who may be at risk of persecution. We expect the Russian government to fulfill its obligations to this end, and to uphold the rule of law."
Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov, dismissed the claims as "absolute lies and disinformation," The Huffington Post noted.
Karimov said there were no gay people living in Chechnya, according to The New York Times.
"You cannot arrest or repress people who just don't exist in the republic," Karimov said.
However, Novaya Gazeta, reported that there are "concentration camps" in the region, where these men are allegedly being abused physically by government officials.
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