Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the detention and abuse of gay men in his southern republic within Russia.
The politician brought up the allegations in a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, which was then broadcast on television.
Kadyrov admitted he felt “uncomfortable” bringing up the issue with Putin, but went on to deny that a man who was claimed to have been killed by authorities due to his sexuality was actually dead.
The Chechen leader added that Tepsurkaev Hasu is “actually at home” alive.
Kadyrov concluded that unconfirmed reports regarding Chechnya “appear two-three times a year”.
He makes these claims despite respected Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reporting last month that around 100 gay men had been rounded up by police and detained in what is widely being referred to as a modern-day ‘concentration camp’.
Moreover, Human Rights Watch later confirmed the horrific reports, adding that the information coming through was “consistent” with “numerous trusted sources” they had spoken to on the ground in Russia.
Hundreds protested outside the Russian Embassy in London last week to urge the British government to help end oppression against LGBT+ people in Chechnya.
The British government has since condemned the “utterly barbaric” torture of gay men in Chechnya, with Sir Alan Duncan telling the House of Commons that the country’s actions are of the “utmost concern to the UK”.
Former US Vice President Joe Biden has also called on current US President Donald Trump to help bring an end anti-LGBT abuse in Chechnya.