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U.S. Lawmakers Condemn Violence Against Gays in Chechnya

Activists in St.Petersburg protest gay abuse in Chechnya.
Activists in St.Petersburg protest gay abuse in Chechnya.

U.S. lawmakers have condemned violence targeting gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya.

The House of Representatives voted on June 27 in favor of a resolution calling on Chechen officials to stop "the abduction, detention, and torture of individuals on the basis of their actual or suspected sexual orientation, and hold accountable all those involved in perpetrating such abuses."

The measure follows a growing chorus of alarm about reports that homosexuals in Chechen are being persecuted for their sexual orientation, rounded up, and in some cases tortured in order to identify other gays.

The investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported on the story in April, and human rights groups and other media outlets have since corroborated much of it.

One gay man told RFE/RL that he spent 10 days in a secret jail, being beaten and humiliated and tortured with electric shocks.

Chechen authorities deny the reports, and a Kremlin spokesman has downplayed evidence of such a campaign.

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