Europe

Chechnya accused of trying to 'eliminate' gay population before Ramadan

Protesters earlier this month outside the Russian Embassy in London, following reports of the torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya.

Protesters earlier this month outside the Russian Embassy in London, following reports of the torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya.  (Thomas Hornall/PA via AP)

A British foreign minister has warned that the Chechen Republic government is planning to "eliminate" its entire gay population by the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov," U.K. minister of state for the Foreign Office Sir Alan Duncan said before Parliament, the Independent reported on Tuesday.

"He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community. Sources have said that he wants the community eliminated by the start of Ramadan," he added.

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Duncan further described the reports coming out of Chechnya, a Muslim-majority nation that is a federal subject of Russia, as "utterly barbaric."

News agencies around the world, including The Guardian, have shared the stories of gay men who managed to escape Chechnya, and are now speaking out before the world about what they experienced. One man, identified as Adam, said earlier in April that he was rounded up by authorities in the Islamic nation, and tortured in sadistic ways.

"At least once a day, Adam's captors attached metal clamps to his fingers and toes. One of the men then cranked a handle on a machine to which the clamps were linked with wires, and sent powerful electric shocks through his body," the Guardian report described.

"If he managed not to scream, others would join in, beating him with wooden sticks or metal rods."

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