Homosexual man who was tortured in Chechnya takes Russia to the ECHR

On May 24, the representatives of Maxim Lapunov who was tortured in the Chechen prison filed a complaint to the European Court on human Rights. As it is stated in the complaint, the Russian authorities failed to protect him from tortures and unlawful detention, and violated four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: prohibition of torture (article 3), right to liberty and security (article 5), right to respect of private and family rights (article 8), and prohibition of discrimination (article 14).

Maxim Lapunov is the only person who publicly told about his unlawful detention and tortures in Chechnya and appealed to the Russian law enforcement agencies. However, despite all the efforts of Maxim Lapunov, Russian LGBT Network and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, criminal case was never open.

On March 16, 2017, unknown people forced Maxim Lapunov into the car. They identified themselves as police officers and told Lapunov that he was suspected of murder. Lapunov was taken to unknown place (later it was identified as Criminal Investigation Office of the Chechen Republic). He was detained there for 11 days. Each day he was tortured and humiliated.

On March 28, Maxim Lapunov was released. Before that, he was forced to sign empty forms and to hold the gun. He was told that if he had informed anyone, he would have been accused of killings.

On May 2017, Maxim Lapunov contacted the Russian LGBT Network, and in June (with the support of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture) he started to fight for his rights. In September 2017, the preliminary inquiry was initiated, but despite all the evidences criminal case was never open. Fearing for his life, Maxim Lapunov had to leave Russia.

Information about mass persecution of LGBT in Chechnya became public in April 2017. The Russian LGBT Network immediately opened the Hotline [email protected]. Only in 2017, more than 200 people contacted the Hotline; 119 people were evacuated from the region.

The Russian LGBT Network exerts all efforts to stop violence in the region and to bring responsible to justice. The Russian authorities deny both the fact of persecution of LGBT in Chechnya, and mere existence of LGBT in Chechnya. According to the information of the Russian LGBT Network, the last wave of persecutions started in December 2018, and continue up to date.

Numerous human rights and international organizations confirmed the fact of mass persecution of LGBT in Chechnya.

“They said that I'm not a human, that I am nothing, that I should rather be a terrorist, than a faggot” LGBT Persecution in the North Caucasus: a Report