The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that authorities in Chechnya are arresting and killing homosexuals.
The daily reported on April 1, citing a range of unnamed sources, that "more than 100" homosexual men had been detained in Chechnya in recent days and that three had been killed.
Without giving specific figures or naming officials, the Novaya Gazeta report said that "information about detentions" of gay men had been confirmed by regional Interior Ministry, Federal Security Service (FSB), and prosecutorial officials, as well as LGBT activists.
The report was rejected by the press spokesman for Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov as "an absolute lie and disinformation."
"You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic," he said. "If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn't need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning."
Chechen human rights activist Kheda Saratova, a member of the presidential human rights council, told Russian state radio that the police and "entire judicial system" in Chechnya treat the murders of homosexuals by their relatives "with understanding."
She said that she herself would "not even bother considering" a claim regarding such a crime.