'They want to wipe us out'

'They want to wipe us out'

"We thought it would calm down and someone would order a halt to this lawlessness. But instead, the officials say everything is fine and the extermination quietly continues," says another man calling himself Nakhcho.

Human Rights Watch has also investigated and says the stories it has heard are consistent and detailed, suggesting an "unprecedented and organised campaign".

But official reaction has ranged from outright dismissal to suspicion.

First, a spokesman for Chechnya's leader said there were no gay people in the republic; this week, Russia's top human rights officer said she suspected the whole affair was a provocation. She pointed out that no victim of abuse had filed an official response with police.

"Chechen people are not crazy! They will not go to the people doing the torturing to write a complaint," exclaims Elena Milashina, the journalist who first uncovered allegations of abuse.

She says her team at Novaya Gazeta have now given Russian investigators a list of names of those who have disappeared. After thorough checks, she is convinced at least two gay men have been killed.



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