Missing Gay Chechen Refugee Resurfaces On State TV, Claims He Was Lying About Abuse

"They disgraced me before the Chechen people and the Chechen leader. I was framed."

A gay refugee who reported being abused by authorities in Chechnya has now gone on state TV to apologize for “disgracing” the republic.

Movsar Eskerkhanov spoke to Time magazine earlier this year about being threatened and blackmailed in Chechnya after coming out as gay, adding that he was even attacked by fellow Chechens in a German refugee camp.

After the interview, Eskerkhanov reportedly “disappeared,” until he resurfaced on November 13 in a “front-page investigation” video by the state-run television network Grozny.

The station describes the refugee as a “mentally ill person” who lied about being gay, and then accuses the story of being “sensationalized” by the Western press.

Eskerkhanov told the journalist that he was set up by the media and framed to say that he was gay. He also claimed that his coming out was made under the influence of epilepsy medication.

“They disgraced me before the Chechen people and the Chechen leader, I was framed,” Eskarkhanov told Grozny TV, according to a translation from BBC’s Russian service. “That’s why I apologize to the residents of Chechnya, the leadership of Chechnya, the Chechens living in the North Caucasus and Europe.”

Chechens who criticize the republic’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, are often forced to give televised apologies, raising concerns that Eskerkhanov went along with the Grozny report in order to keep his family safe from government threats.

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.