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Vladimir Putin backs investigation into Chechnya ‘gay purge’


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Vladimir Putin backs investigation into Chechnya &;gay purge&39;

&39;Arthur&39; is on the run in Western Europe

Video:On the run from Chechnya&39;s &39;anti-gay purge&39;

President Vladimir Putin has said he will intervene over reports of gay men in the Chechnya region being locked up and tortured.

He told Russia&39;s human rights ambassador, Tatyana Moskalkova, that he would personally "talk to the prosecutor-general and the interior minister".

More than 100 gay men were arrested and tortured, at least two killed by relatives and one died in custody, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported in April.

It said people had been told to kill gay family members to "wash clean their honour".

Russian president Vladimir Putin
Image:Vladimir Putin referred to the reports as &39;well-known information, or rumours&39;

One man told Sky News how he was forced to flee Chechnya after police turned up at his home looking for him, while another said he was electrocuted and beaten.

The Russian leader has now agreed to an investigation into "the well-known information, or rumours" about people "with a non-traditional sexual orientation".

Ramzan Kadyrov says there are no gay people in Chechnya
Image:Ramzan Kadyrov says there are no gay people in Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the conservative and Muslim region, has denied the claims but following Mr Putin&39;s invention said officials would look into it.

However, the rigour of the investigation could be another matter – Mr Kadyrov believes Chechnya does not have any gay people.

"Chechen society does not have the phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation: its people have lived for thousands of years according to different rules laid down by Allah," he said.

Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel shake hands during their talks in Sochi
Image:Angela Merkel asked the president to take action during her visit to Moscow

President Putin&39;s actions come after German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the "very negative reports" during a visit to Moscow earlier in the week.

Foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden also wrote to their Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, urging an end to the persecution.

A protest was also held in Berlin before Mrs Merkel&39;s visit
Image:A protest was held in Berlin urging Mrs Merkel to pressure President Putin over the issue

Tatyana Moskalkova, Russia&39;s human rights ambassador, said the anonymity of the gay men would be protected.

She also urged President Putin to create a working group to process complaints from them when they leave Chechnya.

Protesters at the Russian embassy in Mexico City made a banner with their own blood

http://news.sky.com/story/vladimir-putin-backs-investigation-into-chechnya-gay-purge-10864977


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