There was reportedly an attempt to kidnap a survivor of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge in Russia.
A group of people allegedly attempted to kidnap Zelimkhan Akhmadov, a Chechen native, in St. Petersburg on Friday, according to the Russian LGBT Network.
Akhmadov had fled persecution in his home country, where he had been repeatedly arrested and beaten for being gay, reports Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
This five-strong group reportedly included Akhmadov’s father and at least one law enforcement officer.
The assailants attacked Akhmadov near a shelter where he was staying, before forcing him into a car.
However, a friend of Akhmadov alerted the Russian LGBT Network and filed an abduction claim to police, which subsequently investigated the incident.
Police then found Akhmadov and his father, taking both of them to a police station.
The Russian LGBT Network reports that, at the police station, the father “threatened” Akhmadov and said “he was the shame of the whole family, and that because of him all the clan is under a death threat.”
He also reportedly tried to force Akhmadov to make a video denying that he is gay, which the young man refused to do.
Police Kidnap Chechen LGBT Crackdown Survivor https://t.co/TUJYQVUN08
— Russian LGBT Network (@rulgbtnet) July 13, 2018
According to the Russian LGBT Network, there have been five previous attempts to kidnap Akhmadov and force him back to his home country.
Akhmadov has been placed on the federal wanted list in Chechnya, which is an autonomous region of Russia, reports Novaya Gazeta.
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The Russian LGBT Network has recorded five other cases in which gay people have been taken back to Chechnya by force.
Akhmadov has since been released by police and the Russian LGBT Network are supporting him. Police are investigating the incident.
“It means that the Russian authorities cannot or do not want to protect the Russian citizens not only in Chechnya, but also outside of Chechnya,” the network said.
In a news release, the Russian LGBT Network said: “The Russian authorities turn blind eyes on what is happening in Chechnya and refuse to open criminal proceedings for systematic mass detentions, tortures and killings of people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity in 2017.
“The Russian LGBT Network defines persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya as a crime against humanity and demand an open and transparent investigation.”
PinkNews has contacted the Russian LGBT Network for comment.
Human rights monitors reported last year that authorities in Chechnya were carrying out a homophobic purge, which the Kremlin failed to intervene over.
Gay people in the region allegedly faced arrest, torture and execution, as the Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov publicly insisted that homosexuals are “not people” and should be removed to “purify” the blood of the region.