Zelimkhan Akhmadov, a 20 year old gay man, had escaped from Chechnya and fled to Russia following multiple detentions from authorities due to his homosexuality. It has been widely reported that Chechen authorities have been arresting, beating, and ‘disappearing’ gay men in what has been branded a gay purge.
Akhmadov had fled due to concerns he would face further arrests and beatings as well as being forced to out other gay men. Upon his escape to Saint Petersburg, he was put on a federal wanted list and was also in danger from his family who were urged to carry out an honour killing.
There was a previous unsuccessful attempt to kidnap Akhmadov in April as he tried to obtain a passport. In that instance, members of his family accompanied by Chechen police tried to bundle him into a car. He escaped but a friend he was accompanied by was stabbed in the process.
The Russian LGBT Network attempted to protect him by hiding him in a safe house. However, on Friday last, his father, accompanied by men who were described as looking like policemen, bundled him into a car while he was taking out the bins.
Witnesses reported Akhmadov screaming for help, shouting that he was being kidnapped. The Russian LGBT Network received a text message from him reading “help me”. They demanded Saint Petersburg police investigate his kidnapping and called on the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation to intervene.
It was recently reported that local police arrested a group they believed were involved in his kidnapping. Upon their arrest, they also found the young man and are keeping him at the station while the group are in detention. A lawyer, as well as members of the Russian LGBT Network, are accompanying Akhmadov as the case progresses.
In a similar case, the controversial leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, blamed the family of gay man Zelim Bakaev as having carried out an honour killing due to his bringing shame on them.
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