US denies visas to gay Russians fleeing torture and murder in Chechnya: report
Amid the worldwide LGBT outcry against Chechnya’s barbaric persecution of queer people, reports reveal that gay Russians fleeing the country have applied for and been denied American visas. Chechnya is a semi-autonomous region of Russia, meaning it falls under the jurisdiction of Russian authorities.
According to a BuzzFeed News report, a group of around 40 gay men are hiding elsewhere in Russia to escape the country’s homophobic persecution, and have had difficulty acquiring visas to leave the country.
Svetlana Zakharova, a representative for the group Russia LGBT Network, told BuzzFeed “negotiations have been difficult” with countries that could provide safe haven for these queer refugees. She went on to say that “the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya.”
In April, the world was shocked at the revelation of “concentration camps” for LGBT people in Chechnya. Since that news broke, BuzzFeed reports that two queer people fleeing abduction, torture, and murder in Chechnya have secured visas in the European Union or the United States.
Due to confidentiality concerns, the State Department would not comment on allegations that they denied LGBT Chechen visas.
Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed to investigate crimes against LGBT Chechens, but Haaretz reported soon after it was opened that the probe had already been terminated.