France Welcomes Its First Gay Chechen Refugee

two gay men

A Chechen gay has been admitted to France on an “emergency humanitarian visa” and will apply for asylum. French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday pressed Russia’s Vladimir Putin over reports of persecution of gays in Chechnya when the two met on Monday.

Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported in March that the authorities in the Muslim-majority Caucasus region were imprisoning and torturing gay men.

More than 100 gays had been arrested in the region, where homosexuality is taboo, two people had been killed by relatives and a third died after torture, it reported.

Macron said Putin, who agreed to back an investigation into the claims after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month, promised “the whole truth” about the reported persecution when they met and the French presient insisted France would be “vigilant” on the issue.

But Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday insisted there were “no facts” to back up the reports.

Azmad, the first person to be allowed to come to France on the basis of the reports, arrived on the same day as Macron met Putin.

The 26-year-old was granted an “emergency humanitarian visa” last week, according to Joël Deumier of French gay rights campaign SOS homophobie.

Other cases are being examined, he said.