A Russian website has appealed for members of the public to hunt, attack and kidnap people believed to be members of the LGBT+ community in exchange for cash rewards.
The website, пила, which takes its name from the horror film franchise Saw, appeared online for the first time in April 2018. Last year, it encouraged Russians to report perceived LGBT+ people so that they might be tortured by authorities.
Пила has resumed activity and has since launched an alarming appeal for hunters to take part in a monetized persecution of LGBT+ people. Participants will be rewarded for acts of violence against the community, including beatings and abductions.
A description on the website reads:
“We know that a little more than 70% of Russia have a negative attitude towards LGBT people and about 15% will experience hatred and aggression towards them.”
“We are already working and we invite you to hunt for gays in 12 regions of Russia. These are Stavropol Territory, the Chechen Republic, the Republic of Dagestan, the Samara Region, the Sverdlovsk Region, the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Republic of Tatarstan, the Republic of Udmurtia, the Chelyabinsk Region, the Perm territory, the Saratov and Orenburg.”
The Russian website calls for athletic participants who have a “fighting technique”, who are “strong in spirit” to beat up members of the LGBT+ community, to start fights in queer spaces and to kidnap and transport LGBT+ people to Chechnya.
Chechnya is a particularly dangerous place for queer people, with recent reports indicating that two perceived LGBT+ people have died from torture, while a further 40 individuals have been illegally detained since December 2018.
The website’s appeal promises cash rewards of up to 300,000 rubles, the equivalent of €3,970 for hunters to “perform violent actions’ against people who are perceived to be members of the LGBT+ community in these regions. The website also promises “maximum legal protection” for potential hunters.
Hunters are encouraged to harm LGBT+ people, but are warned not to commit acts of murder:
“You can [do] almost everything except killings.”
Пила will set participants multiple, violent tasks if they met the criteria for membership.
LGBT+ people continue to face persecution in Russia. While same-sex relationships were decriminalized in 1993, Pride festivals are routinely denied permits while LGBT+ activists face arrest. Russia is ranked as the least protective country in Europe for LGBT+ citizens.
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