More harrowing reports of harassment, torture and murder of gay men continue to pour out of Chechnya: One fugitive recounted details of the homosexual purge to the Russian magazine Snob, detailing how he came out to his mullah.
“As a Chechen and as a man I do not want to see you here. Neither in the mosque, nor in this district,” he was told by the teacher. “I want you to leave now, because everything you said is the most disgusting thing you can find out. I hope your relatives have the dignity to wash away your shame. Go away.”
The mullah then related an incident involving a 17-year-old, who was pushed off a ninth floor balcony to his death by an uncle ashamed of his homosexuality. Police have reportedly been telling families to “sort out” their gay children or else the state will intervene. At least six concentration camps have been set up for sexual minorities in Chechnya, with reports of beatings and electrocutions.
Chechan president Ramzan Kadyrov has issued contradictory statements about the anti-gay pogrom, first claiming through a spokesperson that “you cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist,” and then announcing he would rid the region of gay people by the start of Ramadan, later this month.
Russian president Vladimir Putin downplayed reports of the attrocities as “rumors,” but this week agreed to allow a government human-rights official to begin an investigation.
Rainbow Railroad is raising funds to help at-risk LGBT people get out of the region. You can make a donation on their website.