Chechnya accused of secret extra-judicial executions of dozens of people

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov claims there are no gay people in the regionREUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

At least 27 people were killed by security forces in the Russian region of Chechnya at the beginning of this year, an independent Russian newspaper has claimed.

A list of people people allegedly executed in extra-judicial killings in Chechnya on the night of 25 January has been released by the Novaya Gazeta.

It said the victims were detained across the region during a series of raids that were triggered by the killing of a policeman on 17 December 2016.

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The 26 victims were not formally arrested and no paperwork was filed before they were executed in the Chechen capital Grozny in January.

"According to our information, the detainees were shot that night and were taken to various cemeteries, including Christian, and buried in hastily dug graves," the report said.

A source within the Interior Ministry reportedly gave the newspaper the names of the victims, but the journalists were unable to locate any of them.

"All attempts to learn anything about these people were met with incredible fear from everyone we questioned," the newspaper wrote.

An official representative of the Russian LGBT Network told IBTimes UK: "As far as we know, the information in the Novaya Gazeta regarding 27 people being killed is true.

"With regards to the sexual orientation of those killed, as far as we know there are homosexual people in this list, but not all of them at all."

Chechen officials have denied the allegations.

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Security forces under the control of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an autocrat who has been described as Vladimir Putin's attack dog, have previously been accused of human rights abuses.

In April, Novaya Gazeta reported that hundreds of gay man were being abducted, detained, tortured and killed in the region in an anti-LGBT purge led by the Chechen government.

At the time, Svetlana Zakharova, an activist for the Russian LGBT Network, told IBTimes UK the crisis in Chechnya is unprecedented.

"Right now, there is a situation where homosexual men are being detained - they are being tortured and heavily beaten and people who contacted us said sometimes they are being beaten to death. People are being tortured with electric currents, beaten - this is the information we know."

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