About 40 people have been detained in Chechnya, Russia since the end of December 2018, with at least two people killed, according to the Russian LGBT Network.
The non-profit organisation said in a statement that there had been a new wave of detentions of men and women in Chechnya based on their sexual orientation.
Program Director of the Russian LGBT Network, Igor Kochetkov, notes that it is impossible to name the exact number of victims. Kochetkov said: “It is known that about 40 people were detained, among which there are both men and women. At least two detainees died as a result of torture. We also know that the detentions are carried out by law enforcement officers, and the victims are illegally detained in Argun.
“The local police are doing everything they can to ensure that they cannot leave the Republic or subsequently seek protection in court. Documents are taken away from them, they are threatened with falsification of criminal cases against them or their relatives, they are forced to sign blank forms.”
The beginning of a new wave of persecution started with the detention of an administrator on social network VKontakte, which occurred at the end of December 2018. The social media group allows homosexual men to communicate with each other.
This detention was followed by others, which the Russian LGBT network began to receive in early January 2019. The Russian authorities have still not carried out an effective investigation into the illegal detention, torture, and murder of LGBTQ+ people occurring in Chechnya since the spring of 2017.
On December 20, 2018, a report was published on grave human rights violations in the Chechen Republic. The report was prepared by the professor of international law Wolfgang Benedek.
During his investigation, the author of the report interviewed victims, witnesses, human rights defenders and journalists. The Russian Federation did not allow the expert to enter the country. The report confirms the fact of systematic mass detentions in Chechnya, illegal detentions in “secret prisons” and torture. The report also states participation in the persecution of Chechen law enforcement agencies.
The Russian LGBT Network is trying to help everyone who requests help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Since April 2017, the Russian LGBT network evacuated about 150 people from the region, more than 130 people left Russia.