Chechen leader hits back over gay persecution claims

Chechen leader hits back over gay persecution claims

Chechnya's strongman leader has harshly denounced claims that the Russian republic has tortured and killed gay men, denying that there are even any homosexual men in his region.

Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has faced wide international criticism since a Russian newspaper reported this spring that his security forces had detained, tortured and sometimes killed gay men.

"This is nonsense. We don't have those kinds of people here. We don't have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada," Mr Kadyrov said in an interview with HBO Real Sports cable television show.

He also said those making the allegations are "devils".

"God damn them for what they are accusing us of," he added.

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