A man from Chechnya said he is suing a newspaper for naming him as one of the men rounded up by agents as part of the gay purge.
Bekkhan Yusupov has criticized news site Noveya Gazeta in two outlets for stating he was caught in the purge, when he says he was not. He told state-run Chechnya Today he was shocked to see the reports and will be looking into protecting himself from ‘slander’.
He also told ChechenInfo: ‘The article also mentions my name, in the context of the fact that I was detained by the police for allegedly homosexual orientation.
‘These facts do not correspond to reality, and their dissemination is defamation, discrediting my reputation, degrading my dignity, and causing moral harm to me and my loved ones.’
He added: ‘Based on the above, I ask you to ensure the legal protection of my honor and dignity, infringed upon the published article of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, by an official denial, as well as bringing to legal responsibility those responsible for slandering me.’
He spoke to state-run media
The article, published by Noveya Gazeta on 29 January, claimed Yusupov was a 50-year-old man who sought asylum in France. They reported that when he returned in December to visit family, he was detained with other suspected gay and bi men. His family are said to have discovered this after he stopped communicating to anyone in Chechnya or France.
However, Yusupov says police stopped him for possession of a keychain made of gun cartridges.
Original reports of the gay purge in the northern Caucuses started in April 2017. After international pressure, the public presumed the rounding up, imprisonment and torture had stopped.
New reports began again in January 2019. Throughout these men have been tortured and, in some cases, executed.