Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he condones honour killings of gay people

'If we have [gay] people here, I'm telling you officially their relatives won't let them be because of our faith, our mentality, customs, traditions'

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 19 July 2017 14:37 BST
Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov: 'We don't have any gays here. Such people are subhuman'

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, has said he condones the killing of gay people by their families in so-called honour killings.

During an interview with HBO, Mr Kadyrov denied there were any gay men in Chechnya and dismissed reports of a “gay purge” in the Muslim republic as “nonsense”.

David Scott, from HBO’s Real Sports, asked the 40-year-old head of state: “I wanted to ask you about the alleged roundup, abduction, and torture of gay men in the Republic. What, Mr President, do you want to say about that?”

“This is nonsense,” Mr Kadyrov said. “We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada.”

He added: “Praise be to God. Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.”

The White House said it found his remarks “very concerning and also upsetting” and had raised the issue with Russian officials “at the highest levels”.

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic

When he was asked about reports of honour killings, which are illegal in Russia and the republic of Chechnya, Mr Kadyrov said: “If we have [gay] people here, I’m telling you officially their relatives won’t let them be because of our faith, our mentality, customs, traditions.

“Even if it’s punishable under the law, we would still condone it.”

Survivors have claimed Chechen police have urged parents to kill their gay children in so-called honour killings.

Mr Kadyrov went on to call those making the allegations “devils”.

He said: “They made it up. They are devils. They are for sale. They are subhuman.

“God damn them for slandering us. At any rate, they will have to answer to the Almighty for this.”

Human Rights Watch report confirms 'gruesome' extent of gay persecution in Chechnya

Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia, was devastated by two wars between separatists and Russian forces in the past quarter-century.

Mr Kadyrov, a former rebel who switched his loyalties to Moscow, has been the dominant figure there since the 2004 assassination of his father and the republic’s former president, Akhmad Kadyrov.

His security forces have been widely accused of extensive human-rights abuses including abductions and killings in Chechnya.

A former officer of his security forces has been convicted of the 2015 assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

He has strongly promoted Chechnya’s Islamic culture, including opening what is claimed to be Europe’s largest mosque in the capital, Grozny.

In the interview, Mr Kadyrov claimed the United States “is conducting an anti-Russian policy against the country’s leadership” but then dismissed the country.

“America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia. We have a strong government and are a nuclear state.

“Even if our government were completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed,” he said.

“We will turn the whole world over to screw it from behind.”

Additional reporting by AP

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