About 200 LGBT people worldwide have been arrested in recent weeks in anti-LGBT police actions in southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.
The most widely publicized and most outrageous anti-gay arrests have been in Chechnya, but the UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI news also summarizes incidents in Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran and Jamaica:
Although Indonesia does not have laws criminalizing same-sex activity, police raided two hotels rooms in the city of Surabaya and detained 14 men for allegedly having a “gay party”. Eight were charged under local anti-pornography laws.
The Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR) report that police in Iran raided a private party and violently arrested over 30 allegedly gay teens and young adult men. IRQR said that the prisoners have been assigned a special prosecutor and will undergo ‘anal examinations’.
In Jamaica, several transgender women were arrested for entering a women’s only area of the University of the West Indies. The group said that they had been invited for a Transgender Awareness event. Although arresting officers were not swayed, Chief Parish Judge Judith Pusey accepted the defense and has scheduled a trial for review.
In Nigeria, as previously reported in this blog, 53 people were arrested for “unlawful assembly and belonging to a gang of unlawful society” and accused of conspiring to celebrate ‘gay wedding’, though representatives say the young people were arrested at a birthday party. The Magistrates’ Court of Kaduna State released the group on bail pending a hearing.
According to reports, the crackdown on gay men in Chechnya continues, and at least 100 men have been arrested and three killed. Officials have denied there is any official policy targeting gay people, whom they say “don’t exist” in the region. Elena Milashina, the Novaya Gazeta reporter who first broke the story, has gone into hiding after receiving death threats. Meanwhile, the Russian LGBT Network has set up emergency shelters and has helped several young men escape and reach medical treatment for their injuries.
Around the world, people descended on local Russian Embassies and Consulates to protest the action in Chechnya. Carrying pink triangles in remembrance of the Nazi symbol for homosexuality, supporters marched across London, Amsterdam, Madrid, Santiago, and many other cities. A demonstration in St Petersburg, Russia, was broken up by police and around 10 protesters carrying Chechen and rainbow flags were arrested.
For more information, read the full Equal Eyes recap for early May.