A series of short clips currently circulating on the social media service WhatsApp reportedly show a student in Russia being forced to admit he is gay at gunpoint, then being stripped, beaten, and raped with a bottle by a gang of anti-gay “vigilantes.”
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported that the videos show a terrified Uzbek student breaking down in tears as he is assaulted by the group of men.
The student was allegedly forced to state he was gay before the gang stripped him of his clothes and burned them.
A man who claimed to be involved with the beating told RFE/RL’s Uzbek service that the tormentors believed that they were punishing him for his own good.
The source said: “We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason. We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks.
“We live and work here, we are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise.”
He said that the attack took place on Wednesday in the city of Novosibirsk, the second most densely populated city in Russia after Moscow. The assailant identified himself and the rest of the attackers as a citizens of Uzbek.
The gay student was reportedly lured to a scene of the attack through a personal ad placed by anti-LGBT Russians, who handed him over to the Uzbek men.
The source added: “Russian guys caught him and called us to say they had a gay Uzbek. We then questioned him and he confessed to everything. There were six or seven of us. The Russians told us he was a pedophile, which he denied. But he confessed that he was gay.”
The news organisation said that it has seen the video, but are currently still attempting to verify the contents.
Activists in Russia say the controversial anti-gay “propaganda” laws passed in June have led to an increase in homophobic violence, with those responsible for the attacks no longer fearing legal reprisals.
President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community.
The Russian LGBT Network said the legislation has validated right wing groups who use social media to “ambush” gay people, by luring them into meetings and then assaulting them on camera.
Igor Kochetkov, the head of the network, said the harassment of gay people was now being organised through collectives such as ‘Occupy Gerontophilia’ and ‘Occupy Paedophilia’, who claim to be trying to “reform homosexuals”.