BISHKEK, April 14. /TASS/. Claims that the rights of gay men in Chechnya have been violated should be thoroughly investigated, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.
"We don’t know about any petitions or complaints by members of sexual minorities about this to any law enforcement agencies," Peskov noted. "Maybe I’m wrong and maybe there have been such petitions."
The spokesman has not ruled out that international organizations may have grounds to assess these alleged violations if they had more information on the situation. Russia’s law enforcement agencies can handle investigating these reports, Peskov said, adding that he was not aware of any particular plans.
The Kremlin also believes that disputes over publications on the rights of sexual minorities in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya should be settled only within due process of the law, since any illegal methods would be unacceptable.
"Of course, if someone believes that the publications were slanderous or distorted reality, there are legal avenues to challenge or call the authors to account for the published materials," Peskov explained.
He commented on the claims by Novaya Gazeta’s management of having received threats over its publications.
On April 1, Russia’s Novaya Gazeta (or New Newspaper) daily published an article on its website entitled "Honor Killing" which referred to abductions and possible killings of Chechnya’s residents over their non-traditional sexual orientations or on suspicion of being gay.
Peskov noted that the Kremlin monitors the situation and the presidential administration has received a petition from the newspaper’s management.
"Of course, we are absolutely against any other types of action that would run counter to the law, moreover (the Kremlin) is against any steps that would threaten the security or lives of journalists," he stressed.