German NGO files legal case against Chechen officials over anti-gay purges

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04/18/2021

Five officials from the inner circle of Chechnya’s autocratic leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, are the subject of a criminal complaint in Germany for crimes against humanity, in a legal attempt to seek justice over the semi-autonomous Russian republic’s anti-gay purges. The 97-page charge sheet, extracts of which have been seen by the Guardian, accuses the Chechen military and state apparatus of persecution, unlawful arrests, torture, sexual violence and incitement to murder at least 150 individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation since February 2017. If the general prosecutor in Karlsruhe decides to take on the case, which was submitted in February by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a German NGO, and the Russian LGBT Network, Kadyrov’s associates could face an arrest warrant if they set foot in Germany. The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first drew attention to a concerted campaign of persecution against gay and bisexual men in April 2017, reporting that people had been rounded up and held in unofficial prisons, where they were verbally abused, electrocuted and beaten with metal rods.

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