Putin backs probe into gay torture in Chechnya



Putin said he would personally "talk to the prosecutor-general and the interior minister" to ask them to help Kremlin rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova check the reports which have caused an worldwide scandal.

Putin told Moskalkova he would, calling the reports about Chechnya "the well-known information, or rumors" about men "with a nontraditional sexual orientation", according to NBC News. They call it "cleaning your honour with blood".

The region's leader made the comments after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced intentions to investigate reports of gay men being abducted, tortured and killed in the republic.

After his ordeal, Anzor fled Chechnya and is now in hiding in Moscow, fearing not only for his own life but for the safety of his relatives.

Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied that there are any gay men to persecute in the region, rather labelling them "fake" Chechens.

"Sources have said that he wants the community eliminated by the start of Ramadan".

A spokesperson for Mr Kadyrov previously suggested the allegations were "absolute lies and disinformation", claiming gay people did not exist in the republic.

The Moscow branch of the pro-gay NGO known as the Russian LGBT Network is helping gay people escape persecution by Chechen authorities.

"While casual homophobia is common in Russian Federation, the problem is particularly acute in conservative [and Muslim-majority] Chechnya, where homosexuality is taboo and seen in many families as a moral failing that should be punished by death", pointed out AFP.

Putin's change of stance comes just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the issue with the Russian President, urging him to help protect LGBT rights in Chechnya.

Survivors have also told journalists and human rights organizations that the people kidnapping and torturing them were police officers - meaning reports of abuse would be submitted to the same authorities that perpetrated it.

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