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Cannes Film Festival judges protest Chechnya’s abuse and torture of gay men

By Ross Semple

A number of judges at the Cannes Film Festival have protested the horrifying treatment of gay men in Chechnya, as details of the abuse and torture being inflicted continue to emerge.

The Cannes Film Festival is currently underway, with films from Sofia Coppola and Todd Haynes competing for the prestigious Palm D’or Award.

At the red carpet screening of queer film 120 Beats Per Minute (120 battements par minute), a selection of the jury for the Queer Palm Award (including Lidia Terki, Travis Mathews and Yair Hochner) held up signs depicting an upside down pink triangle (a sign of queer resistance).

The text on the signs bore a selection of slogans, including ‘silence = death’, ‘Unified Still?!’, ‘Enough’, ‘No More’, and ‘Chechnya’.

120 Beats per Minute

, directed Robin Campillo, tells the story of a group of HIV/AIDS activists at a Paris chapter of ACT UP during the 1980s.

Last week it emerged that gay men attempting to escape torture in Chechnya are being turned away by the United States.

Horrifying accounts of brutality and killings have been emerging from the largely self-governing Russian republic over the last month, after Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay and bisexual men aged 16-50 had been detained by authorities over the last few months.

A spokesperson for Russia LGBT Network told Buzzfeed news that the organisation is having “difficulty” securing visas that would allow the men to escape torture and possible death.

While the spokesperson refused to name all of the countries that are pushing back, they did say: “We were informed that the US is not going to issue visas for people from Chechnya.”

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