Following reports in Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper that security forces in the Russian republic of Chechnya killed 27 people on the night of 26 January 2017, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, said:
“These allegations come from a credible source and as horrendous as they are, appear totally plausible for Chechnya, where the authorities enjoy complete impunity for human rights violations.
“Amnesty International has documented the practice of extrajudicial executions in Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus for many years, and these allegations are consistent with our past findings. They must be investigated immediately, and if proven to be true, all perpetrators must be brought to justice.
“In addition, a full and thorough investigation needs to be carried out into allegations of the secret imprisonment and torture and other ill-treatment of more than 100 gay men in Chechnya in April.
“The security forces cannot be allowed to get away with torture and murder simply because they wear the badge of the state.”
Novaya Gazeta, citing two high level sources in Chechnya, reported on July 9 that dozens of people were unlawfully detained across the republic during unannounced raids that began in mid-December 2016. Twenty seven of them were allegedly killed on the night of January 26 without being formally arrested.
According to Novaya Gazeta, who published a series of articles about the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, these executions are not linked to the anti-gay campaign in the republic. The mass arrests are believed to have been triggered by the killing of a policeman on 16 December 2016.