Despite numerous denials by both the Chechen and Russian Government it has been revealed that the powerful speaker of the Chechen parliament Magomed Daudov personally oversaw the torture of gay men during a violent anti-gay purge in the Russian republic early this year, according to evidence presented in a new report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Most of the detainees interviewed by HRW after their release said they had overheard their jailers referring to Magomed Daudov and the orders he issued about violence against gay men.
Second only to Kadyrov among powerful Chechen officials, Daudov goes by the name of “Lord” and is an easily recognizable figure. Three former detainees also told HRW they had seen him at the prisons where they were being held and tortured.
All of the victims said they had suffered repeated beatings with security officials kicking them with booted feet, hitting them with polypropylene pipes and sticks and forcing other inmates to participate in the violence.
Most of the detainees interviewed by HRW after their release said they had overheard their jailers referring to Magomed Daudov, the speaker of the Chechen parliament, and to orders he allegedly issued about violence against gay men.
Torturers also used electrocution devices to administer shocks to victims until they fainted from the pain. “When you come to your senses they start all over again,” one former detainee told HRW. “And once they’re done with you and you get your bearings, you hear other inmates screaming, and the sounds of torture are just there all day and, at some point, you start losing your mind.”
Many of those who have been released have fled Chechnya, but still face the risk of being hunted down and persecuted by Chechen law enforcers.
The Chechen parliament has once again denied the claims, saying reports about the persecution of gays in the region could not be taken seriously. “We don’t care what journalists working in Europe write about,” it said in a statement on Friday.