Chechnya’s president responded to reports alleging that gay men are being tortured in the country by saying that there is no torture taking place because there are no gay men in Chechnya.
“This is nonsense,”Chechen President Razman Kadyrov told HBO reporter David Scott in an interview. “We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada.”
The Washington Post reports that the president of the Muslim-majority province in the Russian Federation made the comments in an interview with HBO’s David Scott for the investigative sports news program Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on how the Chechen leader is using mixed martial arts (MMA) to broadcast a political message abroad.
“Take them far from us so we don’t have them at home. To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them,” Kadyrov added.
Kadyrov also dismissed concerns of what the U.S. might think of Chechnya.
“America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia,” he says of Russia’s tense relationship with the U.S. “We have a strong government and are a nuclear state. Even if our government was completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed.”
Kadyrov, who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s key allies, is accused of ordering a crackdown on homosexuality in the country in April when Chechen police imprisoned more than 100 men confirmed or suspected to be gay in “concentration camps,” where many were tortured and three were killed.
Kadyrov’s administration denied carrying out such a crackdown, with his spokesman Alvi Karimov telling Russian news agency Interfax: “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.”