Chechnya investigators told: 26 illegal killings in 2017

The motivation for those killings and the alleged sexual orientation of the victims was not specified.
 The Novaya Gazeta report, as described in English by the Crime Russia project, and separately in a rough translation directly from the Russian article, stated that:

A preliminary investigation has been under way for a month, led by the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) headed by Igor Sobol, the deputy head of the Office of Investigations of the ICR in the North Caucasian Federal District. Chechnya is a semi-autonomous Russian republic.

Some policemen secretly helped the investigation by handing over lists of people illegally detained in one of the secret prisons of Chechnya.

Chechen security forces spoke with investigators only under threat.

The chief policeman of Grozny not only denied that gays were being persecuted, but also “suddenly declared his tolerance for homosexuals: ‘Nobody will touch them now, even if parades are held in the center of Grozny,’ ” he said.

Relatives of the victims were forced to sign statements that the victims had left Chechnya at the end of February to work in Moscow.

Investigators visited an alleged gay prison/death camp in Argun, outside the Chechen capital of Grozny. The structure was just as survivors had testified. However, the barracks where, according to their testimony,  illegally detained gays and drug addicts were detained, now was buried under construction debris up to the roof.

Immediately after the first reports appeared of prisoners held at the Argun prison, the prisoners were transferred to a Russian Special Police Force base. Investigators did not inspect that site because “trainings took place” there.

Many Chechen officials stated that they had become ill, so they were  unavailable for interrogation.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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