US Denies Visas To Gay Russians Fleeing Kidnapping And Torture

Only Greater Political Will Can Save Gay Chechens

In a plenary session, MEPs demanded the immediate release of all illegally imprisoned people and an end to the torture of gay men in Chechnya.

The United States has denied visas for roughly forty gay Chechens now in hiding fearing severe persecution for their sexual identity.

After reports of gay men in Chechnya being sent to internment camps and murdered, it's now been reported that the USA is turning away gay men seeking refuge.

"We were informed that the United States is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya, said Russia LGBT Network spokesperson Svetlana Zakharova".

While the operation did not appear to be an official government action, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta wrote that some associated with the government may have allegedly had a part in sending gay men to the reported prisons. Since that news broke, BuzzFeed reports that two queer people fleeing abduction, torture, and murder in Chechnya have secured visas in the European Union or the United States. "All the people arrested are homosexual men or perceived as being gay".

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, : "As visa records are confidential under U.S. law, we are unable to discuss individual cases".

A statement in April from Human Rights Watch, however, echoed the earlier Novaya Gazeta report.

On April 20, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that allegations about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya were groundless.

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, in turn, said that regional authorities were ready to cooperate with federal agencies in order to look into media reports about the situation with sexual minorities in the region.

Zakharova told BuzzFeed News that "negotiations have been difficult" with representatives of countries that could provide safe refuge for survivors of the violence.

Haley said that the troubling reports coming from Chechnya "cannot be ignored, " and yet that is exactly what we are doing by turning them away.

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