Wed, 19 Feb 2020

A minister in Russia's Chechnya region has said it would be 'remedial' for an openly gay woman to read the Koran, following beatings she accused her parents of orchestrating over her homosexuality.

'You can express yourself as you like, but reading the Koran in a certain setting, situation, and with certain conversations really is therapeutic in traditional Islamic medicine,' Dzambulat Umarov, Chechen minister of national policy, foreign relations, press, and information, told the 360 channel on January 22.

He refused to believe the accusations made by Aminat Lorsanova, a 22-year-old native of Grozny, that she was tormented and beaten.

Such 'absurd information,' according to the minister, is related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and is deliberately 'thrown into the media landscape.'

Lorsanova the previous day filed a report with the Russian Investigative Committee demanding a criminal case be opened into her parents, their acquaintance, and doctors of a medical clinic in Grozny.

According to the woman, she was sent to a medical clinic in August 2018 for 25 days after which she spent an additional four months at a neuropsychiatric dispensary in Grozny.

Several times during her stays at the clinics, Lorsanova said her father's acquaintance would come and beat her with a cane while reading the Koran in front of her parents, saying he was 'driving the genie out of her.'

According to the alleged victim, the man would repeatedly strike her in the solar-plexus area and pressed his fingers in the area, causing her more pain.

During this period, Lorsanova said her father six times forcibly injected her with tranquilizers.

Since early 2017, there have been reports of a coordinated campaign of violence and intimidation of homosexuals in Chechnya, including by law enforcement authorities.

Russia has faced international criticism for its record on LGBT rights, including a 2013 law signed by Putin that banned disseminating 'propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations' to minors. Putin denies the law is discriminatory, saying it is aimed only at protecting children.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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