Authorities in Chechnya are reportedly sexually assaulting women from the country’s LGBT community with “electric shock sticks”.
Women are being targeted with sexual violence as part of the ongoing anti-LGBT crackdown, according to the Russian LGBT Network.
The so-called “gay purge” began in 2017 when reports emerged of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people being kidnapped, detained, tortured and murdered in the autonomous region of Russia.
The violence has escalated in recent weeks, according to the organisation, which has said people are being rounded up in the town of Argun, as well as a police station in the Chechen capital Grozny.
Igor Kochetkov, programme director of the Russian LGBT Network, said a “new wave” of detentions started at the end of December 2018.
Last week, the organisation said last week that two Chechens had died after being tortured and a further 40 had been detained since the crackdown began in last month.
“Now we know that there are a few places where people suspected of being homosexual are detained. One of them is the police office of Zavodskoy district of Grozny,” he said in a statement on the organisation’s website.
“Once again, it proves that all the detentions, tortures and murders are committed by the law enforcement officers.”
Survivors have said victims are being subjected to increasingly cruel and violent forms of torture, the organisation said.
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Both women and men are being targeted, with some women raped using “electric shock sticks”.
Men who have been detained have their heads shaved and they are forced to wear women’s clothes, the network added.
One survivor told the Network: “They did not feed us. Sometimes they gave us some water, dirty water that was left after mopping. They gave us clean water only for prayer.”
Since April 2017, the Russian LGBT Network has evacuated around 150 people out of the region.
Chechen women targeted
Speaking to Pink News last year, the network said lesbian and transgender women were being targeted by Chechen authorities.
Zamira*, a transgender Chechen woman said she found out about the anti-LGBT purge in 2017. Although she didn’t believe it for a long time, she lived her life in hiding.
“I did not go out, I communicated with very few people. So I saw this information online only and like many others I believed that it was not true,” she says, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Until the moment they started to hunt me.”
He has also denied the existence of any LGBT people in the region.