Gay men in Chechnya tortured in renewed anti-gay crackdown
Gay men in Chechnya have been illegally detained, beaten and humiliated by police in a renewed anti-gay crackdown, according to a new report.
Four men who spoke to Human Rights Watch from Chechnya revealed that they had been detained between December 2018 and February 2019.
They said that they were kicked by police, beaten with sticks and pipes, and three of the four men said they had been tortured with electric shocks.
One of the men reported being raped with a stick by police.
Police in Chechnya reportedly tried to force them to give names of other gay men
The men told HRW that they were interrogated and tortured and that police demanded they identify other gay men. They also reportedly had their mobile phones confiscated.
One of the men said police exposed his sexual orientation to his family and indirectly encouraged them to kill him.
The men also said they were denied food and were given limited access to water during the time they spent in custody. They also said homophobic slurs were used against them.
In an interview with HRW, one of the men said: “They made me kneel on the floor and put metal clips on my thumbs, he turned the knob [of the electric shock device], first slowly and then faster and faster… With every turn, my hands bounced up and excruciating pain went through them.”
“They made me kneel on the floor and put metal clips on my thumbs, he turned the knob [of the electric shock device], first slowly and then faster and faster.”
– Gay man from Chechnya who spoke to Human Rights Watch
The Russian LGBT Network estimated that at least 23 men were detained on suspicion of being gay between December of last year and April of this year.
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Chechnya made headlines for its anti-gay purge in 2017 when it was reported that police rounded up and tortured dozens of gay men they suspected of being gay.
However, the situation has not improved for gay men in the region, who continue to face abuse and harassment for their sexual orientation.
The Russian LGBT Network filed a criminal complaint in January
The investigation seems to confirm the rumoured crackdown. In January, the Russian LGBT Network filed a criminal complaint demanding an investigation into alleged illegal detentions of men who were suspected of being gay.
The group said at the time that at least 14 people had been detained as a part of the new anti-gay purge.
“The detained were severely beaten, sexually abused, were tortured with the electric current. They were also forced to sign empty forms,” the Russian LGBT Network said in the statement.
The LGBT+ rights group has been at the frontline of the fight to denounce the horrors of Chechnya anti-gay purge, which first came to light in April 2017. Chechen authorities have always denied any such purge.