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Human rights ombudsman: Chechnya’s authorities appropriately respond to illegal detentions

November 28, 13:10 UTC+3 GROZNY

No complaints have been received against the alleged violation of LGBT rights in Chechnya

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GROZNY, November 28. /TASS/. Chechnya’s authorities appropriately respond to illegal detentions, regional Human Rights Ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiyev said in an interview with TASS.

"Chechnya’s authorities appropriately respond to such facts (illegal detentions)," he said. "Ramzan Akhmatovich [Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya - TASS] has been keeping a close eye on the law enforcers’ activities. We should understand that all police officers cannot be perfect, they need to be trained and work is underway in this regard," Nukhazhiyev noted.

He said that among complaints that he received "some concern illegal detentions." "I can assure you that all the illegally detained people get released," Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman added.

According to him, Chechnya’s residents mostly turn to his office for assistance "in peaceful matters." "In the post-war period, most complaints concerned violations of the rights to life and movement, but now people ask us to help them resolve issues related to their peaceful life. They include social issues, particularly housing rights, labor rights, the right to education, to name a few," Nukhazhiyev pointed out.

Media reported earlier that several residents of Chechnya, detained for drinking alcohol, were being kept in a gym in the Khimoi settlement, while law enforcers demanded that they apologize for their behavior. Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova asked her Chechen counterpart to look into those reports, which failed to be verified. 

No complaints have been received against the alleged violation of LGBT rights in Chechnya, Nukhazhiyev said. At the same time, he noted that some people "made a business out of this issue."

"I haven’t received a single complain or request of this kind. I never saw such people, and I don’t know if there are any in Chechnya," Nukhazhiyev said.

He pointed out that some people "who created a hype over this issue," had realized that "it may turn out to be a good business, since some high-ranking officials in the European countries belong to this group, so why not make money out of it?" "It means, they will claim to protect the rights of the persecuted, while their actual goal is to make money. I can tell that this story is unlikely to end here, information attacks against us will continue," Chechnya’s human rights ombudsman added.

In an interview with the Rossiya 1 TV channel on Sunday, Chechnya’s head Ramzan Kadyrov said that the story about the alleged persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya had been invented to make money out of it.

LGBT rights issue

On April 1, Russia’s Novaya Gazeta daily raised the issue of gay people’s civil rights being violated in Chechnya. In an article entitled "Honor Killing," the daily reported, citing anonymous sources in law enforcement agencies and unnamed victims, that some residents of Chechnya had been detained and allegedly tortured and killed over their non-traditional sexual orientation.

Chechnya’s Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights said that after assessing the situation it had found neither direct, nor indirect evidence to back up these allegations.

In May, Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatyana Moskalkova informed President Vladimir Putin that she had been tackling violations of LGBT people’s rights and asked him to issue instructions on setting up an inter-agency working group that would be active in Central Russia instead of Chechnya and receive people’s requests if any were made.

In early November, Moskalkova stated that there were reasons to initiate a criminal case concerning tortures reported by Maksim Lapunov, a young man from Chechnya. According to her, she received the first petition concerning the possible tortures of gay men. The petition was forwarded to law enforcement agencies.

"In my view, there are enough reasons to initiate a criminal case and include Maksim Lapunov in the witness protection program," Moskalkova said, adding that she had visited the North Caucasus Investigation Office of the Russian Investigative Committee to have a look at all the files concerning the recent probe and after her visit, the decision not to initiate criminal proceedings had been cancelled.

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