Human rights groups have confirmed that gay men are being arrested and killed in a terrifying anti-gay purge in Chechnya.
Reports over the weekend said that over 100 men aged 16-50 have been detained by local authorities in the Russian caucus in recent weeks.
Three men are known to have been killed, and it was estimated that the real figure was even higher.
In a new report, Human Rights Watch confirmed the shocking claims that have stunned the LGBT+ community around the world.
“The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground.
“The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred.”
The crackdown began after a Russian gay rights group applied for permits to stage gay pride parades in Russia’s North Caucasus region, of which Chechnya is a part.
Authorities have been using social media messages to track and entrap victims, who are unlikely to be out in a region where homosexuals are faced with widespread persecution and violence.
Men already detained are said to include leading religious figures as well as two well-known Chechen TV personalities.
The legal status of homosexuality in the predominantly Muslim region of Chechnya is unclear, but authorities have historically turned a blind eye to anti-gay violence and murder, while Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has previously said he approves of honour killings.