In the last few weeks, there have been new reports revealing the persecution and torture of LGBT+ people in Chechnya. Two people have been killed and nearly 40 detained in a new crackdown. The deaths were reportedly caused by the use of torture by police.
This mirrors events in 2017 when eye-witness reports from gay men who escaped Chechnya revealed the depravity of Chechen authorities who have breached detainees’ privacy, used electric shock torture and brutally murdered members of the LGBT+ community.
Chechen authorities are even forcing families to ‘honour kill’ their children according to anonymous testimony from Chechen refugees.
At a safe house in Moscow, a Chechen survivor described the brutal interrogations to Vox News:
“We were beaten (so badly) that some people had open wounds on their body. And after several days many people smelled like rotten meat.
“I think they will not be against finding us all and doing everything (in their power) so that we stop speaking altogether.”
After the reports, a spokesperson for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied the reports claiming:
“There are no homosexuals in Chechnya. You cannot detain and persecute those who do not exist.”
Following the 2017 revelations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed Vladimir Putin to take action on the issue.
Two years later despite initial talks of an investigation into the gay purge in Chechnya, Putin continues his support of the region’s ‘warlord’ leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Earlier this month, Foreign officials from both the US and the UK condemned the Chechen government for the most recent reports of murder and detainment from the region.
Protests from LGBT+ activists are continuing at Russian embassies around the world.
London Pride’s Co-Chair, Michael Salter-Church spoke with urgency at the Russian Embassy in London about the need to take action with regards to the situation in Chechnya:
“50 years on from brave activists taking a stand at Stonewall, the appalling events in Chechnya highlight with vivid brutality that the fight isn’t over.”
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