While the world watches on, the human rights abuses against the LGBTQ+ community in Chechnya continue to grow worse. The authorities are still reportedly kidnapping men believed to be gay, detaining them in concentration camps and subjecting them to electrocution and inhumane torture
Some prisoners have even died, but their number remains unclear.
“It's a feeling like they are breaking every bone of every joint in your body at the same time,” a man who identified himself as Anzor told the Associated Press, adding that he managed to escape the detention center and is currently hiding in Moscow. However, he is worried about the safety of his family and loved ones.
The homophobic crackdown, which has been going on for months, first made headlines after Russia’s leading opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news about alleged kidnappings and murders of homosexual men in the predominantly Muslim North Caucus region. The newspaper claimed the authorities had rounded up and detained more than 100 “suspected” gay men “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such” and that three of them were already dead.
Most of the victims were between the ages 16 to 50.
Since homosexuality is a taboo in the conservative region, there is not much empathy for the LGBT+ community either. Although some activists tried to protest the ongoing operation, the police soon rounded them up, detaining at least 20 of them.
A new report claims that police are now instructing parents to kill their own children if they believe they are gay.
“They tell the parents to kill their child. They say, ‘Either you do it, or we will,’” a man, who managed to escape from one of the homosexual torture camps, told France 24 News on condition of anonymity. “They call it: ‘Cleaning your honor with blood.’ They tortured a man for two weeks (then) they summoned his parents and brothers who all came. The authorities said to them: ‘Your son is a homosexual — sort it out or we’ll do it ourselves.’”
The victim also explained the police now arrest everyone, which coincides with earlier reports alleging that anyone suspected of being gay is taken to the concentration camps.
“We were tortured every day. Beside beatings, we were beaten several times a day with polypropylene tubes. We were tortured with electricity,” recalled another victim. “For 20-30 seconds they spin the handle, you feel the electricity, then you fall down, they stop it and then immediately you come back to consciousness and you are ready again for a new discharge. And it goes on five, six, seven times.”
Meanwhile, Russia continues to deny the anti-gay purge.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel brought up the issue during her first visit to Russia in past two years.
“I asked President Putin to use his influence to protect these minority rights,” Merkel told reporters.
While asking Putin to help save homosexual men is just ironic, the German chancellor is actually one of the only foreign leaders to comment on the brutal crackdown so far.
United Kingdom Minister of Foreign Affairs Alan Duncan also brought the issue to parliament last month.
“Human rights groups report that these anti-gay campaigns and killings are orchestrated by the head of the Chechen republic, Ramzan Kadyrov,” he said. “He has carried out other violent campaigns in the past, and this time he is directing his efforts at the LGBT community. Sources have said that he wants the community eliminated by the start of Ramadan. Such comments, attitudes and actions are absolutely contemptible.”