Andy Cohen called out Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov over social media Wednesday night amid allegations that gay men are being rounded up, imprisoned and tortured in the southern Russian republic, holding the Chechen leader responsible for these “crimes.”
“Imprisoning people for who they love is inhuman,” Cohen told his followers and Kadyrov. “You have to stop it. Free the gays.”
In the post, Cohen tagged @kadyrov_95eng, Kadyrov’s official Instagram page as the Head of the Chechen Republic. Cohen urged his followers to speak out as well, calling for protests until the men are released. He also asked his followers to sign a petition making the rounds on social media.
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Cohen’s message comes on the heels of reports of torture, imprisonment and even murder of gay men in the republic. In an interview with CNN’s Russian correspondent Matthew Chance, an alleged victim of the torture recalled how he was beaten, interrogated and electrocuted.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley have both expressed outrage at the allegations, with Haley releasing a statement Monday calling for an investigation into the claims.
We continue to be disturbed by reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder of people in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation and those persecuted by association. If true, this violation of human rights cannot be ignored – Chechen authorities must immediately investigate these allegations, hold anyone involved accountable, and take steps to prevent future abuses.
We are against all forms of discrimination, including against people based on sexual orientation. When left unchecked, discrimination and human rights abuses can lead to destabilization and conflict.
Tomorrow, the United States will lead a first-ever meeting on human rights in international conflicts in the UN Security Council to underscore our commitment to addressing human rights abuses wherever they threaten international peace and security.
The leaders, Crime Russia reports, came to the conclusion that the claims were nothing but “absolute lies and slander.” Adviser to the Head of Chechnya Adam Shakhidov called the editorial board of Novaya Gazeta “enemies of our faith and our homeland,” for the alleged slander.
Kadyrov echoed similar sentiments when he, the Associated Press reports, accused international civil rights organizations of coordinating a “massive information attack … using the most unworthy methods, reality is distorted, attempts are being made to blacken our society, lifestyle, traditions and customs.”