Two years of kidnappings, tortures and killings in Chechnya

In January 2019, the Russian LGBT Network confirmed information about new wave of persecution in Chechnya related to victims’ real or alleged sexual orientation. Since January, the Russian LGBT Network evacuated 9 people from the region and identified 19 people who suffered within this new wave of persecution organized by local authorities.

One of the victims is Bekhan Yusupov. It was the account of his detention that led to the discovery of new wave of persecution. People who were detained at one of the police stations in Grozny reported that they saw Yusupov there, and that he looked heavily beaten. The witnesses also indicated that he wore the same clothes as at the meeting with Heda Saratova, member of the Chechen Human rights council.

Most victims the Russian LGBT Network managed to identify were detained at the same police station in Grozny. However, it was not the only detention place. There is information about similar places in Gudermes and Argun. Some victims described the latter as a place where women suspected of homosexuality were detained.

The Russian LGBT Network repeatedly applied to the various Russian law enforcement agencies with the demand to conduct thorough and transparent investigation. This year, the Executive Director of the Russian LGBT Network Igor Kochetkov submitted information about the new wave of persecution in Chechnya to the Federal Investigative Committee. In his application, he spoke of the need to investigate this situation at the federal level becvause the majority of victims pointed to the participation of the Chechen law enforcement agencies in the persecution. Despite that, the case was transferred to the Grozny Investigative Committee.

Since April 2017, the Russian LGBT Network evacuated around 150 people out of Chechnya; most of them have already found sanctuary out of Russia. At the moment, there are 17 people under the supervision of the Russian LGBT Network.