Oklahoma | I went inside death row, what I saw made me sick - Henry McLeish

The evolution of civilised behaviour, indicating a retreat from barbarism, has become a distinctive feature of most modern western democracies, but America often disappoints, retaining practices that shock, sadden, and in my case, nearly made me physically sick.
My visit to death row at McAlester State Penitentiary, Oklahoma, brought home to me, how the final setting for government sponsored killings, combined with execution by lethal injection, brought a brutal end to lives. And made a mockery of the idea of justice, offering instead a violent, humiliating, and inhuman act of revenge, with no serious pretence that any of these end of life dramas, provide any deterrence in criminal justice terms. Formerly known as “Indian Territory”, and home of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, with a population of over 4 million, became a state in 1907. Located in America’s “Bible” belt, where there is a strong fundamentalist Christian tradition and powerful Republican politics, Oklahoma remains a pro…

Chechnya leader responsible for “gay purge” rushed to Moscow hospital for coronavirus

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic and Vladimir Putin
Dozens of gay men and transgender people have been tortured and murdered at the hands of authorities with Ramzan Kadyrov's approval.

Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, has been rushed to a Moscow hospital with symptoms of coronavirus infection. Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation and Kadyrov was installed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kadyrov has overseen a horrific “purge” of LGBTQ people in the past few years. Gay men and transgender people have been tortured and murdered at the hands of authorities.

“Ramzan Kadyrov has been brought to Moscow by plane with suspected coronavirus. He is currently under medical observation,” a source confirmed to the Russian news outlet Tass.

Kadyrov’s condition remains unknown. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin recently returned to work after being released from the hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Chechen authorities — most of whom are former military members who serve as the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s secret police force — often detain suspected queer men under the pretense of drug charges. Police then examine the men’s phone contacts for other suspects, using torture to get as much info as possible.

A 31-page report released in August 2017 by the Russian LGBT Network said torturers use “electrocution, beatings, starvation, dehydration, isolation, forced nudity, homophobic insults and misgendering” to punish detainees, confiscating their personal belongings and only allowing them to sleep three hours a day on cold concrete floors. The men are not allowed to bathe or use toilets and they receive no medical care.

Witnesses say these detainment and torture sessions have occurred in four military camps and police station basements. There’s no mechanism to hold police responsible for their actions. Filing a complaint makes one a future target for police harassment and violence.

Women have been caught in the crackdown too, though they’re often left to their families be abused, imprisoned or killed. Chechen authorities subscribe to the Stalinist idea of “shared responsibility,” blaming families for raising “public enemies” and punishing them if they don’t help persecute and murder relatives in so-called “honor killings.”

Families can also be imprisoned, harassed, jailed, blackmailed or killed if their suspected LGBTQ family members flee the region.

Chechnya’s anti-LGBTQ crackdown has occurred in four waves: The first lasted from December 2016 to February 2017, the second from March 2017 until May 2017, the third began June 2017 and the fourth began in December 2018.

At least 27 people are believed to have died in the crackdown. The Russia LGBT Network has helped approximately 119 gay and bi men escape the purge and flee to Moscow, Canada Lithuania, France, and Germany.

Source: lgbtqnation.com, Bil Browning, May 22, 2020

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde


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