Gays fleeing persecution in Chechnya find refuge in Lithuania

LGBT community protest in the front the Russian Embassy
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“I can confirm that we have issued visas to two arrivals from Chechnya who experienced persecution due to their sexual orientation,” the minister told BNS.

Linkevičius gave no further details about the circumstances of the arrival of the people. He said that Lithuania was one of the first EU to take in persecuted gays and that it coordinates its actions with its Western allies.

“We have consistently raised these issues both in the EU format and in the Council of Europe’s parliamentary bodies as to the possibility of helping and, if needed, granting asylum,” the minister said.

“We coordinate our actions with allies, because other countries participate as well,” he added.

Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported in March that over 100 gay men had been detained as part of a coordinated campaign and three of them had been killed. According to the newspaper, local authorities urged people to kill their gay family members.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is loyal to the Kremlin, has denied the allegations. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he has ordered an investigation into the reports.

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