France takes in first gay refugee from Chechnya

France has welcomed the first gay refugee from Chechnya.

The man, whose identity has not been released, arrived in the country yesterday (29 May).

Joël Deumier, president of French LGBTI organization said this man would only be the first one in a line of refugees, saying it ‘will continue’.

He also slammed Russia for acting too slowly, and for denying crimes against gay men.

‘We hear Mr Putin has said that he has started an investigation, that it is not true, that there is no violence or murder of gay people,’ Deumier said.

‘That’s completely false. We have concrete proof.

‘We can no longer accept this discourse of denial from Russia against gay people.’

SOS Homophobie helped with the refugee’s application. They also provided testimony to prove he faced oppression because he is gay.

Deumier also stressed the man arrived ‘at the same time as Mr Putin’.

Russian president Vladimir Putin was on his first official visit to France’s newly-elected president Emmanuel Macron.

They met in Versailles yesterday (29 May).

During their meeting, Macron said, Putin vowed to investigate ‘the whole truth’ about Chechnya’s concentration camps for gay men, and the allegations of violence and torture.

Macron also told him he would be ‘constantly vigilant’ about what is happening in Chechnya.

On 1 April liberal Russian newspaper Novoya Gazeta published an article about Chechnya operating a concentration camp for gay men.

At the time, 100 men were believed to be held in the camp, and three men had been killed.

As of 25 April, there were six camps in operation, with at least 200 men illegally detained. They have now reportedly been destroyed, and prisoners were brought to an unknown location.

Survivors reported abuse and torture in the camps, in one case by means of a homemade ‘electric chair’, so they would give up the names of other gay men.

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