Chechen authorities torturing captured men until they out gay friends
Authorities running concentration camp style prison in Chechnya are torturing inmates into outing others.
Activists from the Russian LGBT Network have revealed the horrifying abuse as they seek to help victims.
Maksim, who was captured, told the New York Times he had been tortured after meeting up with a gay friend at his home.
“They yelled, ‘Who else do you know?’” Maksim said, revealing that officers zapped him with painful currents.
“It was unbearably painful; I was hanging on with my last strength,” he added.
“But I didn’t tell them anything.”
Partners of the captured now live in fear that they are about to be rounded up.
Authorities are torturing the men into revealing who they know, or who they are dating, in an attempt to round up more people they believe to be gay.
“People whose partners are detained have every reason to believe they will be arrested,” Igor Kochetkov, director of the Russian LGBT Network, said.
“It is very hard not to name the names under torture.”
One 20-year-old student, who identified himself as Ilya, said: “If they caught him, they will get to me.
The network also says gay dating websites are being used to capture men.
Authorities are posing as men looking for dates, then luring genuine gay and bi men into dates, where they then capture and torture them.
President Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, said the reports of an anti-gay pogrom had to be false because such men did not exist in Chechnya.
“In Grozny, have you ever noticed people who, by their appearance or manners, resemble people who are oriented in the wrong way?” Mr. Karimov asked.
“A policy is developed for a problem,” he said, referring to a report that said the arrests were official policy.
“I can officially say there is no policy because there is no problem. If there were a problem, there would be a policy.”
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It comes after Britain’s deputy foreign secretary revealed a terrifying threat from President Kadyrov while taking an urgent question on the situation in parliament.
Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, told parliament: “Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.”
“He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community.”
“Sources have said that he wants the [LGBT] community eliminated by the start of Ramadan.”
The minister added: “Such comments, attitudes and actions are absolutely beyond contemptible.”
PinkNews has spoken to the Foreign Office, who verified that President Kadyrov had made the threat in local Russian language media, seen by the UK government.
Ramadan starts on May 26 this year, and is widely celebrated in Chechnya, which is a predominantly Muslim area.