Chechnya has resumed its anti-LGBTQ crackdown, the Russian newspaper that initially broke the story in April 2017 has reported.
Since that story first came out, there have been additional reports of queer people in the region being rounded up, detained, tortured, made to give up the names of other LGBTQ people, and have in some cases apparently been killed, either by authorities or their own family in so-called “honor killings.”
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the reports, and claimed there are no gay people in Chechnya, but a number of victims who were freed have shared their terrifying experiences with the media.
Officials there put out warnings on social networks warning LGBTQ people to leave, according to Russian paper Novaya Gazeta, and sources from the Russian LGBT Network, which has been working to get members of the LGBTQ community out of the region.
Alvi Karimov, spokesperson for Kadyrov, denied the reports of renewed attacks on the LGBTQ community, calling it “untruth and misinformation.”
“In the Chechen Republic there are no prisons and places of detention that are not part of the FSIN system (Russia’s prison system),” Karimov told RBC.
Novaya Gazeta reported in December that, according to documents from Russia’s Investigative Committee, two gay Chechen men were shot in the head at close range at a detention site on on March 30, 2017, just weeks after they went missing. The men, Shoto-Shamil Akayev and Ayub Ibragimov, are said to have been trying to escape.