Chechnya: Russian police detain activists delivering petition signed by 2 million people
Russian police arrested five activists yesterday as they tried to deliver a petition demanding action on the crackdown on gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.
Despite the testimony of a number of men who have managed to flee Chechnya, the country’s president Ramzan Kadyrov (right) has denied that the abductions, torture and murder of gay men is taking place. Kadyrov has agreed to cooperate with a Russian investigation while claiming that there are no LGBT people in Russia.
The activists were arrested as they walked along Moscow’s Tverskaya Street holding mostly empty boxes with the words “Justice for the Chechen 100” written on them, reports Reuters.
Russian activists bring 2M appeal signatures to Prosecutor General demanding investigation of Chechnya gay pogroms.
Get detained by police pic.twitter.com/GOk4azt2Mq
— Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi) May 11, 2017
The boxes were meant to symbolise the almost 400,000 people who had signed the petition on the website change.org to investigate Novaya Gazeta’s findings.
The activists also carried a USB stick with signatures in support of the petition.
Police said the activists’ actions amounted to an unsanctioned protest, put them in a police van and drove away.
When asked about the alleged treatment of gay people in Chechnya, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric cited calls by U.N. special rapporteurs for the release of men detained in the republic for the perception they may be gay and for Russian authorities to condemn all homophobic statements.
“It’s clear from the Secretary-General’s point of view that no one should be persecuted for perceived reasons of sexual orientation or who they may love,” Dujarric told reporters.