A respected Russian newspaper says it has uncovered information that police in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up more than 100 men suspected of homosexuality and that at least three have been killed.
The Saturday report in Novaya Gazeta said it had confirmed the information with sources in the Chechen police and government, but gave no details.
The report was denied by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's spokesman, who suggested there are no homosexuals in the Muslim-majority region. Ali Karimov said, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti, "it's impossible to persecute those who are not in the republic."
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The Kremlin-backed Kadyrov is widely accused of extensive human rights violations. He has brought Islam to the fore of Chechnya's daily life, including opening what is called Europe's biggest mosque.