Reports have surfaced from survivors of anti-LGBT+ violence in Chechnya that indicate that captured women are being sexually assaulted with electric shock sticks at the hands of Chechen officers.
Other survivors of what has become known as the “gay purge”, have reported beatings, starvation and deprivation of water in detention.
Women perceived as being members of the queer community are allegedly being sexually assaulted by Chechen authorities, while captured men have had their heads shaved and are being forced to wear women’s clothing.
The Russian LGBT Network revealed reports of sexual violence with electric shock sticks in a recent statement:
“Not only men but also women are tortured. The detained are raped with the electric shock stick. All men are closely cropped, they are forced to use women’s wear and are called women’s names.”
One survivor, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Russian LGBT Network about his experience in detention in Chechnya:
“They did not feed us. Sometimes they gave us some water, dirty water that was left after mopping. They gave us clean water only for prayer.”
Another victim, who was targeted for being transgender, shared her experience of abuse in the region, which is a federal subject of Russia:
“I did not go out, I communicated with very few people. So I saw this information online only and like many others, I believed that it was not true. Until the moment they started to hunt me.”
These reports of torture and capture are all part of a recent surge in the mass-persecution and abuse of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya. Since December 2018, two people have died after being tortured by officials, while a further 40 people have been illegally detained.
Igor Kochetkov, a member of the Russian LGBT Network released updated information on the whereabouts of detained LGBT+ people within the region on the organisation’s website:
“Now we know that there are a few places where people suspected of being homosexual are detained. One of them is the police office of Zavodskoy district of Grozny.
“Once again, it proves that all the detentions, tortures and murders are committed by the law enforcement officers.”
I am appalled by the reports coming out of Chechnya in Russia, including alleged detentions, torture & even deaths in some cases. Persecuting an entire community for being LGBT has no place in the modern world. https://t.co/EOyOTJBLK3
— Sir Alan Duncan MP (@AlanDuncanMP) January 16, 2019
Foreign ministers in the US and the UK have condemned Chechnya’s anti-LGBT+ violence and have called for the Russian government to take action.
Russian authorities have remained silent on the issue. In fact, a Russian website recently encouraged members of the public to “hunt” LGBT+ people with the aim of kidnapping them and sending them to Chechnya.
Read some of the ways you can help to support our LGBT+ sibliings in Chechnya here.
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