BRUSSELS -- A spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has called for an investigation into allegations that authorities in the Russian region of Chechnya have been abducting, torturing, and even killing gay men in an apparent coordinated campaign.
Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic on April 6 called for "prompt, effective, and thorough investigations into the reports" and for "anyone found guilty of or complicit in such crimes" to be prosecuted.
On April 4, the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported that more than 100 homosexual men had been rounded up in Chechnya in an "unprecedented" campaign.
At least three men were reported killed.
A spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov rejected the accusations, saying there were no homosexuals in Chechnya and if there were, their relatives would "send them somewhere they wouldn't return from."
A representative of the Russian LGBT Network told RFE/RL on April 5 that her organization had received more than 10 appeals from Chechen men seeking to leave the North Caucasus republic.
"We have never before encountered information anywhere in Russia that hundreds of people have been detained, tortured, and even killed," Russian LGBT Network spokeswoman Svetlana Zakharova said. "I think this is an unprecedented case."
With reporting by Novaya Gazeta