Four gay men have stepped forward to talk about a new round of detentions and beatings of gay and bisexual men, according to the Human Rights Watch. The detentions and assaults happened between December 2018 and February 2019. According to the men, Chechen police kicked them with their boots, beat them with sticks and pipes, and tortured three of them with electric shocks. One man said he was raped with a stick.
The men said that police demanded they name other gay friends of theirs and withheld their cell phones for that purpose. One man indicated that officials outed him to his family and told them to kill him. In three of the four cases, police asked for money in exchange for the gay man’s release. All four said that officials starved them and gave them only limited amounts of water.
“There wasn’t anything remotely resembling an effective investigation into the anti-gay purge of 2017, when Chechen police rounded up and tortured dozens of men they suspected of being gay,” Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in the report. “Impunity for the 2017 anti-gay purge has sanctioned a new wave of torture and humiliation in Chechnya.”
Police would humiliate the men by forcing them to undress in front of other inmates and make them clean toilets and wash floors as a way of doing “women’s work.”
Russian LGBT Network activists told Human Rights Watch that Chechen police detained at least 23 presumed gay or bisexual men between December 2018 and April.
Human Rights Watch reports that top Chechen authorities did not sanction this new wave of detentions as they did when the detentions first occurred in 2017. Instead, researchers said that police were emboldened to treat gay and bisexual men however they wanted due to earlier sanctioned violence.
Chechnya has not acknowledged the persecution of gay and bisexual men since reports first emerged in 2017.