Reports have confirmed that two people have died from extreme torture, and a further 40 people have been detained since December in the latest purge of LGBT+ people in Chechnya.
Since February 2017, authorities in the region – which is a federal subject of the Russian Federation – have abducted, tortured and murdered over 100 people on suspicion of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Additionally, there have been eyewitness accounts of concentration camps in the region.
Reports of deaths and imprisonment have been confirmed by the Russian LGBT Network who released a statement regarding the crisis in Chechnya:
“We know that the detentions are carried out by law enforcement officers, and the victims are illegally detained. The police are doing everything they can to ensure that they cannot leave the Republic or subsequently seek protection in court.”
The statement continued:
“Documents are taken from them, they are threatened with falsification of criminal cases against them or their relatives, they are forced to sign bank forms.”
The director of the LGBT Network, Igor Kochetov, has confirmed that the mass-persecution of LGBT+ people in Chechnya continues in the region:
“Widespread detentions, torture and killings of gay people have resumed in Chechnya. Persecution of men and women suspected of being gay never stopped. It’s only that its scale has been changing.”
While Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the purge, claiming that there are “no gay people in Chechnya”, Kadyrov has also encouraged parents of LGBT+ people to kill their children to avoid bringing shame to the family.
Maxim Lapunov, who was tortured by Chechen authorities, spoke to press last October about his experience in a prison in the region:
“They burst in every ten or 15 minutes shouting that I was gay and that they would kill me. Then, they beat me with a stick for a long time, in the ribs, legs, buttocks and back. When I started to fall, they pulled me up and carried on.
“Every day, they assured me that they would kill me and tell me how.”
The Chechnya crisis continues to be ignored by the Russian government, of which the Northern Caucasus region is a subject of.
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