US denied visas to 40 gay Chechen refugees - report

European Parliament calls on Moscow to investigate torture of LGBT people in Chechnya

Many have protected against the persecution (Stock image)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A new report claims the United States has denied visas to up to 40 gay Chechens seeking sanctuary from brutal repression in their country.

Buzzfeed states these individuals are currently in hiding around Russia, as Chechnya remains mired in accusations of anti-gay brutality and even murder.

Chechnya is a semi-autonomous republic within Russia, and the 40 refugees want to flee the country altogether - but the US is reportedly refusing to deny them entry.

The US State Department has told The Independent that it will not confirm or deny the report, as visa records are confidential.

The report comes after the European Parliament called on Moscow to conduct an investigation into the allegations of torture and killing of gay men in Chechnya.

It discussed the issue on Wednesday (May 16) and came to a resolution on Thursday (May 18), according to Interfax.

Now the European Parliament has asked Russia to exercise its authority over Chechnya to stop the persecution of homosexuals, release those who have been illegally detained and provide legal and physical protection for victims.

The Parliament has also asked for journalists and human rights campaigners to be protected, as well as allowing human rights organisations to investigate the situation.

It has stressed that Russia must be responsible for conducting the first investigation into the matter. However the European Union and countries of the Union embassy office in Moscow are planning on monitoring the progress of the inquiry.

European Union deputies have also condemned statement by Chechen authorities that it is ok to be violent towards LGBT people, and repudiated the claim by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadrov that there is not a single homosexual in his republic.

Russia's human rights monitor has investigated the situation in Chechnya, but said reports of anti-gay violence could be a "false provocation."