Reports have emerged this week that Chechnya has ramped up its anti-gay pogram and that 100 gay men were detained and three killed in these camps last week.
Novoya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper known for its critical and investigative coverage of Russian politics and social affairs, said that several new camps have been set up in Chechnya where gay men have been forced to promise to leave the republic.
The most recent report in Novoya Gazeta said that those arrested include well-known local television personalities and religious figures.
Svetlana Zakharova, from the Russian LGBT Network:
“Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region.”
“Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.”
A prisoner who escaped told Novoya Gazeta that prisoners were beaten to force them to reveal other members of the gay community. Another said that before being incarcerated in one of the camps he survived by bribing Chechen police thousands of rubles every month in order to survive.
Ekaterina Sokirianskaia, Russia project director for the International Crisis Group, says: “The story is very much developing…victims are escaping. It is difficult to overstate just how vulnerable LGBT people are in Chechnya, where homophobia is intense and rampant. LGBT people are in danger not only of persecution by the authorities but also of falling victim to “honour killings” by their own relatives for tarnishing family honour,”
Last year Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev was arrested, tortured, and murdered by by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”
His body has still not been found.
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