US Denies Visas to Persecuted Gay Russians

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The United States has rejected visa application to gay Chechens trying to escape threats to their lives. BuzzFeed News first reported that a group of 40 Chechens are currently in hiding after their attempts to leave were denied by the State Department.

According to the organization Russia LGBT Network, “we were informed that the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya.”

Over the last few weeks, news has trickled out of the semi-autonomous Russian region about a state-led campaign of violence against gay citizens. Reports have indicated that gays are being rounded into concentration camps and subjected torture and abuse.

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The news of the violent crack down was first reported by the Chechen newspaper Novaya Gazeta and has since been confirmed by human rights organizations and international news outlets.

The Chechen government, which has been accused of human rights abuses, has denied the reports of kidnappings. In fact, a spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has denied the existence of gays in Chechnya entirely.

Supporters try to protect activist Kiriee Fedorov from further attacks after he was violently assaulted by ultraconservative extremists during a gay-pride rally on June 29, 2013. Fedorov was later arrested. Russia’s gay “propaganda” law has been used to ban gay-pride rallies in St. Petersburg. Mads Nissen

Supporters try to protect activist Kiriee Fedorov from further attacks after he was violently assaulted by ultraconservative extremists during a gay-pride rally on June 29, 2013. Fedorov was later arrested. Russia’s gay “propaganda” law has been used to ban gay-pride rallies in St. Petersburg.

“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” the spokesperson, Alvi Karimov, told Interfax.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return,” Mr. Karimov said, referring to the “honor killings” of gays.

About The Author

Samuel Braslow is the managing editor at FourTwoNine Magazine, and covers current events and politics for the website.

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