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Russian human rights chief sees grounds to press charges of torture in Chechnya

November 01, 14:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Tatayana Moskalkova, she earlier received the first petition concerning the possible tortures of gay men

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MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. There are enough reasons to initiate a criminal case concerning tortures reported by Maksim Lapunov, a young man from Chechnya, Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatayana Moskalkova told reporters on Wednesday.

According to her, she earlier 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.

"I went to the North Caucasus Investigation Office of the Russian Investigative Committee to have a look at all the files concerning the recent probe. Today, the decision not to initiate criminal proceedings has been cancelled. The next step is to find the witnesses whom Lapunov mentioned and who have not been found yet due to the lack of activity on behalf of the investigator," the Russian human rights ombudsperson said.

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.

On May 5, Moskalkova informed Russian 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.

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