On May 17, seven unknown people broke into the apartment of the Russian LGBT Network Hotline volunteer. Three of them were Chechens. Another four men hinted that they were police officers but refused to provide identification documents. One of them told to the volunteer: “we will take you to the police office and will break all your bones”.
The perpetrators were looking for a young Chechen woman who left home and the Russian LGBT Network Emergency program coordinator David Isteev. The volunteer of the Hotline did not have any information about the woman and about Isteev’s whereabouts. However, he was aggressively interrogated and threatened with bodily harm and murder. “They told me to tell David Isteev that they were going to find and kill him”.
David Isteev regularly receives threats connected to the work of the Russian LGBT Network in Chechnya from different people. The perpetrators claimed that they were police officers from Grozny, Criminal investigation officers from the North Ossetia, members of “Ramzan Kadyrov’s special troops”. The Russian LGBT Network Executive Director Igor Kocketkov also regularly faces threats. The Russian LGBT Network consider those threats as real.
Since April 2017, the Russian LGBT Network evacuated around 150 people out of Chechnya; most of them have already found sanctuary out of Russia. Now, there are 15 people under the supervision of the Russian LGBT Network.