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Chechen Man Reportedly Caught in Gay Purge Will Sue for Slander

Chechen to sue news for tying him to gay purge

Bekkhan Yusupov says he's not gay and assertions that he is destroyed his reputation.

A Chechen man said he will sue a newspaper that named him as one of several gay men rounded up by national security agents as part of a gay purge.

Bekkhan Yusupov told state-run outlet Chechnya Today he was shocked to be included in reports and will look for methods to protect himself from further "slander."

He also provided a statement to the website ChechenInfo. Yusupov criticized the news outlet Noveya Gazeta in a lengthy quote:

"This article also mentions my name, in the context of the fact that I was detained by the police for allegedly homosexual orientation," he said in Russian. "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."

Noveya Gazeta on January 29 reported at least 14 individuals had been detained as part of a new gay purge in Chechnya. The paper sourced Igor Kochetkov, program director of the Russian LGBT network, who said the men were degraded and tortured.

The article described Yusupov as a 50-yer-old Chechen who sought asylum in France, but came back in December to visit family. But after he stopped communicating with anyone in Chechnya or France, family found he had been detained with other suspected gay and bi men. The news suggested he may also have been stopped so police could extort him.

Yusupov, in his new statements, said he was detained for possessing spent bullet jackets.

Reports came out earlier in January that Chechnen authorities had recently launched a fresh round of detainments, sparking international outrage. The Russian LGBT Network reported then at least two individuals had been killed while in government custody.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov notoriously called LGBTQ people "devils" who needed to be removed to "purify our blood" in an HBO Sports interview in 2017. Russian authorities investigated but claims they did not find any evidence LGBTQ people even exist within Chechnya.

Radio Free Europe notes the tendency for those who speak out publicly against the Chechen regime and Kadyrov in particular have a long history of later recanting their criticism on state-run media.

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