Gay purge in Chechya – Part 2. Repressions against gay men started back in 2009
Repressive crackdown against gays in the Chechen Republic began long before the end of last year, which became known in April 2017. At least 7 out of 10 young people enjoy experience of same-sex relationships.
Snob magazine published the second story from the beginning of April of an LGBT community representative who fled Chechnya and who left Russia five years ago. According to him, round-ups against homosexuals in Chechnya have been taking place for a long time, not since late 2016, as Novaya Gazeta has previously written.
Although from 2009 to 2011representatives of the law enforcement agencies were more involved in extortion, detaining homosexuals, and then blackmailing them, torture and murders of gays in Chechnya occurred already in those years, one refugee that managed to leave for Europe said.
The young man reported in an interview with Snob that for the first time he faced persecution by law enforcement officers when he rescued a gay friend. The latter was rounded up after a failed attempt to get acquainted with a young man, an employee of a pizzeria, whose owner turned out to be "an influential person in the power structures of Chechnya".
"A friend called me and asked to bring a hundred thousand. I borrowed the money and met with those who had taken him. I was pushed into a car and taken to a police station in a three-story building. They began to say that we were fag…s, gays and all that stuff. They took the money from me and beat me: they broke my nose, a feather cracked. My friend taught law at the university – I said that I was just a student, that he was my professor. In the end they apologized – they said they thought I was gay, too. But, apparently, after this incident the gay men began to be shadowed", the fugitive told in an interview.
The second wave of raids began in 2011, the narrator notes, and in 2012 law enforcers detained a young man with whom the protagonist of the interview had been going out for three years by that time. Under torture the detainee betrayed his lover and one other person, however immediately after being released he asked for a phone on the street and managed to warn him about the impending detention. Thanks to this the narrator managed to leave for Dagestan, but after some time he was forced to return because of a sick mother. Having sold the house quickly at a very low price and made a foreign passport, he planned to leave the republic, but was detained. He managed to get out only by promising to "rat out very rich people".
One of the published by representative of the LGBT community evidence of torture in Chechnya
"Yesterday a friend told me on the phone what was going on there. Indeed, three people were killed, that is, they were missing. Before that, my friends hid it for a long time, so I did not believe the journalists. When they caught gays, they said that if a person told about what had happened, there would be consequences after which he would spend all his life on drugs. They threatened, so those guys told even me that they did not hear anything and did not know anything. A friend who just moved to Europe said that he was in prison in Argun. That everyone was kept in the same cellar with other prisoners who beat them as they wanted. They were humiliated, called lesbians, threatened that they would be put on a bottle. The gays were nicknamed – Natasha, Marina, Shakira. And three or four times a day they arranged a concert: they forced them to dance and beat them", the protagonist of the interview told.
According to Novaya Gazeta, at this address in Argun there is one of the secret prisons
It should be noted that this monologue of the fugitive is not the first one published by Snob. On April 5 the newspaper published the story of a homosexual Chechen who said that gay raids had began in the republic between 2008 and 2009 and that in the North Caucasus (and Chechnya is not an exception) many young people were engaged in same-sex relations due to strict prohibition on sexual contact with the opposite sex before marriage.
According to the fugitive, the statistics of young men with experience of same-sex relations is 7 out of 10, which, however, does not make them gay.
The refugee also told about frameups of the law enforcers in the then popular Airway Chat, as a result of which many people of nonstandard sexual orientation were detained. Murders happened already then, the fugitive tells. He gave an example of a 17-year-old boy who "dropped from the balcony" of the 9th floor. Later, according to him, it became known that after learning about his orientation his family members decided to kill him to "wash the shame", inviting the uncle of the murdered person to fulfill the decision.
"Others were caught, killed and their bodies were thrown into the yard of their families, in some cases, the bodies just passed away, because according to Islamic laws, gay bodies are not necessarily buried. Sometimes the body bought out for a lot of money, the fugitive says.
According to the youth, at the age of 15 he became very religious, and one day, feeling himself an outcast in society, he tried to confess to the mullah in his orientation.
"I asked him what I should do about it. The horror, disappointment and disgust arose on his face. He laid his hand on the Koran and said: "This book does not say anything about people like you. It does not say what to do with you. As a mullah, I can not help you." And he added that violence is bad in any case. I had not time to exhale a little and feel the hope, as he said: "But as a Chechen and as a man I do not want to see you here. Neither in the mosque, nor in this district. I want you to leave now, because everything you said is the most disgusting thing you can find out. I hope your relatives have the dignity to wash away your shame. Go away," the fugitive recalls.
The attempt to make coming out to relatives ended unsuccessfully. The brothers began to beat him with the tacit consent of the rest of the family, and after a while the young man was sentenced. The elder brother, who served his prison term for the murder, took him to the forest for killing, but he could not having shot off the earlobe. Some time after this the narrator managed to escape from the house and emigrate.
To recall, the scandal related to the persecution, torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya began on April 1 after the Novaya Gazeta's publication. Chechen politicians categorically denied this information, accusing journalists of slander and provocation, after which the meeting of the Chechen clergy issued a resolution on the retribution of the slanderers.
At a meeting with Vladimir Putin on April 19, the Head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, personally denied information about the persecution of gays. The Investigative Committee of Russia did not react to the statement of the edition about the initiation of a pre-investigation, but 2 weeks ago it was opened. It was reported that it is being conducted by the investigator for priority cases of the ICR Main Investigation Department, Colonel of the Legal Service Igor Sobol, who has extensive experience in the investigation of high-profile cases involving the North Caucasus.