New wave of persecution against LGBT people in Chechnya: around 40 people detained, at least two killed

Since the end of December 2018, there is a new wave of persecution against LGBT in Chechnya based on the alleged sexual orientation of victims, both men and women. Information received by the Russian LGBT Network suggests that around 40 people were detained; at least two people were killed.

Igor Kochetkov points out that it is impossible to name the precise number of victims. “However, we know that around 40 people were detained, both men and women. At least two people died as a result of tortures. We also know that the detentions are conducted by the law enforcement officers, and the victims are detained in Argun. The local police makes every effort to prevent victims from leaving the region or applying to the courts in the future. They take away documents, they threaten the victims with the criminal proceedings against them or their close ones, and they force them to sign empty forms”.

According to the sources of the Russian LGBT Network, the new wave started after the detention of the administrator of the one group in the social network “VKontakte”, which happened at the very end of December 2018. This group was a space for homosexual men from the North Caucasus to communicate. It was followed by other numerous detentions. The Russian LGBT Network learned about this situation in the beginning of January 2019.

The Russian authorities are unwilling not only to stop the persecution, but also to acknowledge the fact of illegal detentions, tortures and killings of LGBT people in Chechnya. The only official reaction of Kremlin to the Report prepared as a part of the OSCE Moscow mechanism and devoted to the severe violations of human rights in Chechnya was the statement made the President’s press secretary. Dmitry Peskov stated that they would look over the report.

On December 20, 2018, the report devoted to the severe violations of human rights in Chechnya was published. The report was prepared by the Professor of International law Wolfgang Benedek within the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. Wolfgang Benedek conducted investigation and talked to the survivors, witnesses, human rights defenders and journalists. The report confirms the fact of mass severe violations of human rights in Chechnya.

The Russian LGBT Network works to support victims of LGBT persecution in Chechnya since April 2017. Since that time, the Network evacuated around 150 people out of region, around 130 people found sanctuary out of Russia.