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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has slated Joe Biden following the U.S. President’s comments supporting LGBTQ+ rights in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday 21st September.

President Biden said, “We all must defend the rights of LGBTQI individuals …whether it’s Chechnya or Cameroon or anywhere”. The former Soviet republic of Chechnya has one of the world’s most shameful records on LGBTQ+ rights with gay men and lesbians often facing arrest, illegal detention and torture as well as extrajudicial “honour killings”.

Following the President’s comments, Kadyrov – who last weekend claimed victory in nationwide elections with a reported 99.7% of the vote – took to social media to write, “Biden made such an absurd statement in response to which I can only invite him to our republic so that he can see with his own eyes that there are no “roosters” in the Chechen republic.”

The Russian word for rooster (or cockerel in British English) is petukh and is used to refer to men who have been abused in prison and, more generally, gay men as a whole. 

Kadyrov continued, “Biden, whose country is angry at all Muslim states, is plowing the Arab world with air bombs and has returned troops from Afghanistan in shame, suddenly began to mention the Chechen republic for no reason at all.

“We haven’t recovered from a number of his ridiculous statements and actions as president of the United States yet and he’s already delighting us with his new strange and absurd statements.”

In a 2017 television documentary, Kadyrov claimed that Chechnya “doesn’t have any gays” despite numerous media investigations into government-orchestrated campaigns of imprisonment and torture. The Chechen authorities have consistently denied all such allegations.

Kadyrov and several of his associates remain under U.S. sanctions for their continued abuses of human rights.

Check out our 2019 report on the abuse of LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya here.

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