Chechnya’s president denies persecution of gay men, says there aren’t any in his country
Chechnya’s president says his small republic can’t have any homosexual concentration camps, because no one in his country is gay.
“We don’t have those kinds of people here,” Chechen President and MMA fighter Ramzan Kadyrov told HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” in an interview set to air Tuesday. “We don’t have any gays.”
He suggested anyone who is should leave the continent.
“If there are any take them to Canada,” he said. “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 slammed those who accused him of persecuting gay men.
Kadyrov, a 40-year-old Kremlin ally who’s led Chechnya for more than a decade, has been accused of torturing homosexual citizens.
More than 100 Chechen men suspected of being gay were arrested in early April and at least three of them were killed, according to Novaya Gazeta, a prominent Russian newspaper.
Kadyrov — decked in blue camouflage with paintings of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his late father Akhmad Kadyrov overlooking him — called his accusers “devils.”
“They are for sale,” he said in a two-minute preview. “They are not people.”
Kadyrov has carved out a macho image throughout his 11 years leading Chechnya.
The cable sports show was profiling Kadyrov, an MMA fighter who uses the sport for political means.
His comments are believed to be his first to Western media since the April report in Novaya Gazeta.
Amnesty International launched a petition to stop the alleged persecutions following the report.
Elton John spoke out against the reported crimes, and pushed the petition to halt Kadyrov’s actions.
Kadyrov posed for a photo with Mike Tyson in September 2005 when the boxer visited Chechnya.
When asked about the human rights abuses, Kadyrov laughs and speaks to someone off camera.
“Now we know why he came here,” he says in one interview clip. “And what he’s getting at with these questions.”
He then deadpans: “This is nonsense.”
The macho leader’s country endured more than 10 years of war with Russia, and is now semi-independent.
The Chechen strongman has regularly been accused of human rights violations.
Kadyrov has carved out a brutal toughguy reputation since taking power in 2006.
He’s posed for pictures with Mike Tyson and often posts MMA photos to his Instagram account with some 2.7 million followers.
In his interview with HBO, Kadyrov offered a chilling warning against the U.S. as its tensions with Moscow continue.
“America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia,” he told “Real Time.” “We have a strong government and are a nuclear state.”
“Even if our government was completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed.”