G20: Trump urged to talk 'gay purge' with Putin; Turnbull to raise tech issues

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putin turkey meeting
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (not seen) following their meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

US President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a G20 summit. Prior to their meeting, the US president has been urged to raise the issue of the Chechnya gay purge. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will reportedly urge his US counterpart to act against tech terrorists.

Human rights groups have expressed concerns about the alleged crackdown on the gay community in Chechnya, an autonomous region in Russia. There are claims that men are being held in secret camp-style prisons, tortured and abused.

European leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel previously raised concerns about the allegations during meetings with Putin. The US government remains silent on the issue.

President of the Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin wrote a letter to Trump regarding the homophobic persecution. He told the US leader the situation in Chechnya “continues to be extraordinarily dangerous for LGBTQ people.”

“Since news first broke in April, we know that more than 100 gay and bisexual men have been arrested and detained without charge,” Griffin wrote, according to Pink News. He noted that some victims were set free, while others are still in detention to face torture. At least three were reportedly killed.

Griffin told Trump it is imperative for the POTUS raise this issue with Putin in their scheduled meeting in Germany at the G20 summit. “I urge you to stand with the victims by calling on President Putin to take immediate action to bring the violence to an end and the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes to justice." He maintained that the US should not step back from its role as a human rights leader.

Turnbull would also urge Trump to do one thing, which is to demand that US tech companies break into encrypted messages from suspected terrorists. According to Sydney Morning Herald, the Aussie leader plans to join the leaders of Britain and Germany in pressing for action at the G20 summit on Friday.

The prime minister said he would utilise the first, closed-door session of the G20 summit to deliver his message about the need to have much greater co-operation, pointing out that terrorist threat was absolutely global. He argued that although police and security agencies could intercept telecommunications, they could not read them. Some US tech companies have been reluctant to decode any of their systems for intelligence and police agencies.

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