Journalist who uncovered shocking Russian gays tortured found dead

Liz MacKean, died at the age of 52. She was a BBC Journalist who broke the news of the shocking torture of gay men in Chechnya, Russia.

MacKean worked on Channel 4’s Dispatches program, where she produced the groundbreaking documentary. In “Hunted”, she goes behind the scenes to expose Russian people hunting gay men through hook-up apps. ‘There’s a hunting season,’ she told the BBC. ‘And gay men are the hunted.’ She continued: ‘There are gangs at work across Russia and probably the most violent of them is a group called Occupy Pedophilia.

‘As far as they’re concerned, there is no difference at all between a homosexual and a pedophilia. So using that blurred distinction as a justification, they go, as they say, on safari.

‘That involves using social media to lure gay men to apartments – perhaps the offer of a date – and these men are then assaulted,’ she said. She then explained she was present while 13 people attacked and tortured a gay man.

MacKean also produced a documentary on the rise of Christian fundamentalist groups in America. Hunted: Gay and Afraid looks into claims that US-based group the World Congress of Families uses its pro-family message to support anti-gay legislation in Russia, even lobbying the Slovakian government to pass new laws curtailing the rights of the gay community.

MacKean also broke news of disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile on sex abuse charges. She also won Stonewall’s Journalist of the Year award in 2014.

BBC director of news James Harding paid tribute to MacKean, saying she had earned a reputation as a ‘remarkably tenacious and resourceful reporter.’ He said: ‘In Northern Ireland, she won the trust of all sides and produced some of the most insightful and hard-hitting reporting of the conflict.’

‘It was as an investigative reporter that she really shone, shining a light on issues from the dumping of toxic waste off the African coast to Jimmy Savile, the story for which she is probably best known,’ he said.

The cause of death was allegedly a stroke.

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