In the past year and a half over 100 gay men in Chechnya were arrested and subjected to torture, and some of them were killed. Now new reports of arrests and detainment’s are coming to light.
Prominent activist Igor Kochetkov told The Associated Press on Friday that gay rights supporters have seen a spike in detentions of men and women suspected of being gay since late December. Kochetkov would not say how many people have been detained or where they are now. He said the activists are preparing a short report to be released on Monday.
Independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which broke the news of the crackdown in 2017, also confirmed earlier on Friday reports renewed persecutions of gay people in Chechnya.
Russian authorities kept denying that the killings and torture took place in the predominantly Muslim region where homosexuality is a taboo, even after one man came forward to talk about the time he spent in detention in Chechnya.
Maxim Lapunov said he was detained by unidentified people on a street in the Chechen capital, Grozny, and kept in custody for two weeks, where he was repeatedly beaten. He was let go after he signed a statement acknowledging he was gay and was told he would be killed if he talked about his time in detention.
Chechen authorities have used electrocution, beatings, starvation, dehydration, isolation, forced nudity, homophobic insults to get the men to reveal more suspected homosexuals. Authorities confiscate all personal belongings and don’t allow the men to contact anyone or to sleep.
One former detainee said that the torturers showed him a graphic video of a suspected terrorist having a plastic pipe inserted into his anus and then barbed wire forced into the pipe and ripped out of his rectum. The torturers videotaped the torture, showed it to a gay man and revealed that they had brought a similar plastic pipe and barb wire to use on him. The man then confessed, revealing his gay associates to avoid a similar fate.