A gay man who escaped the anti-LGBTQ purge in Chechnya was kidnapped on July 13, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports, and it appears it was carried out by his father, with the help of Russia’s Federal Security Service.
Zelimkhan Akhmadov, 20, was persecuted by family and law enforcement during his time in Chechnya, before escaping to Russia, where he was kidnapped.
The Russian LGBT Network, which has been working to find asylum for victims of the detentions, beatings, and murder of gay, bisexual, and transgender Chechens, including Akhmadov, filed an application for abduction and police were able to stop the kidnapping.
Officers brought the kidnappers, along with Akhmadov, to the police station, followed by a lawyer and employees of the Russian LGBT Network.
The man’s relatives had been trying to track him down since his escape, with the aid of Chechen authorities, as his father, Eli Akhmadov, said his son was missing, landing him on the federal wanted list.
There are reports of Chechens being the victims of so-called “honor killings” by family members who have found out they were members of the LGBTQ community. Akhmadov was reportedly yelling for help as he was forced into a car. He also sent a two-word text message to an employee of the Russia LGBT Network, simply reading, “Help me.”
The Russia LGBT Network reports that relatives have tried to kidnap him several times in the past, including one occasion where his friend who was with him at the time was stabbed.
The incident occurs shortly before President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, taking place today in Finland. The Human Rights Campaign has projected a message onto the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, demanding that Trump and Putin end the ongoing anti-LGBTQ crimes in the Russian republic of Chechnya.