Putin supports plan to investigate reported abuse of gays

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin reacts during a joint press conference with Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella after a meeting in Moscowís Kremlin, Russia, Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Sergio Mattarella is in Russia on an official visit. (Sergei Chirikov/ Pool photo via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Russia’s human rights ombudsman he will speak with law enforcement officials about the reported torture of gay men in Chechnya.

Tatyana Moskalkova asked Putin on Friday to support her request to form a group in Moscow to investigate the treatment of gays in the southern Russian region.

Putin agreed to her proposal for investigating what he called “the well-known information, or rumors” about what is happening to people “with a non-traditional sexual orientation.”

The abuse was first reported in April by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which said about 100 suspected gay men were rounded up and tortured, and at least three were killed.

Putin’s comments reflect how Russian officials have played down the report. Moskalkova earlier said she doubted such abuse took place.