For gay Chechens, escaping from Chechnya doesn’t guarantee safety from Chechnya’s purge of its LGBT citizens. The Russian LGBT Network tells about the attempted abduction of a Chechen man who sought refuge in St. Petersburg.
Dear all, please find some information on the attempt of abduction of a native of Chechnya in St. Petersburg last Friday (July 13).
On July 13, in St. Petersburg there was an attempt to kidnap a native of Chechnya Zelimkhan Akhmadov. According to the information received, his father can be involved as well as unknown people who spoke the Chechen language among themselves. At least one of the perpetrators had an ID of a law enforcement officer.
Zelimkhan Akhmadov has been in hiding for almost a year to escape persecution based on suspicions about his homosexuality, and the recent attempt to kidnap him is not the first one. There have already been five attempts to abduct the young man or to force him to return to Chechnya.
On July 13, at 12:20 pm, five people attacked Zelimkhan near his [safe house] and forced him into a car. As it turned out later, this car had been waiting nearby for 2 days. A friend of Zelimkhan managed to send a message to a staff member of the Russian LGBT Network, which immediately the abduction to police, who went to the location and talked to witnesses.
Security personnel at the residential [safe house] recorded the numbers of the car involved (they register all the cars in the zone of the residential house), and with it police quickly managed to find the young man and his father. There were no other people at the place where Zelimkhan was detained.
Both Akhmadovs were taken to police station No. 60, where the father threatened Zelimkhan: he said that he was the shame of the whole family, and that because of him all the clan is under a death threat. The father also tried to persuade the son to make a video in which he would say that there was no persecution, and that he was not homosexual. Zelimkhan refused to do so.
In the evening, Zelimkhan left the police station; he is safe now, with the Russian LGBT Network providing all necessary support. A pretrial investigation was initiated. Under Article 126 of the Russian Federation’s criminal code, abduction committed by a group of persons is punishable by a prison sentence of five to twelve years.
As [Russian gay rights activist] Igor Kochetkov pointed out, this attempt at abduction disprove the official position of the Russian authorities, who repeatedly state that there are “no gay people in Chechnya”. Members of the LGBT community have tried to flee Chechnya because of the mass campaign against LGBT organized by the local authorities, but that is not enough.
Chechen individuals suspected in homosexuality are persecuted outside of the Republic too. The Russian LGBT Network registered five cases of such abductions, as a result of which five people were taken back to Chechnya by force. It means that the Russian authorities cannot or do not want to protect the Russian citizens not only in Chechnya, but also outside of Chechnya.
Russian authorities turn blind eyes on what is happening in Chechnya and refuse to open criminal proceedings for 2017’s systematic mass detentions, tortures and killings of people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Russian LGBT Network defines persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya as a crime against humanity and demand an open and transparent investigation.
- Lesbian endures Islamic exorcism, flees from Chechnya (May 2018, 76crimes.com)
- $5,500 per rescue from Chechnya, and more is needed (February 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Europe demands probe of mass arrests in Chechnya (February 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Eyewitness describes horrors of anti-LGBT Chechen purge (November 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Chechnya’s long arm of retaliation against gay men (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Canada welcomes 22 to 31 gay Chechen refugees (September 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Many bash Russia for Chechen abuses; few help gay victims (August 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown resumes, activist says (July 2017, 76crimes.com)
- “They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me” (May 2017, HRW)
- Chechnya: Where making a call could cost your life (April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Chechnya threatens journalists for reporting mass arrests
(April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Chechnya anti-gay violence: Newspaper fears ‘retribution’ for reports (April 2017, BBC)
- No ‘reliable information’ on Chechnya gay persecution, says Putin spokesman (April 2017, The Guardian)
- Chechens tell of prison beatings and electric shocks in anti-gay purge: ‘They called us animals’ (April 2017, The Guardian)
- Report: Chechnya opens concentration camps for homosexuals (April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denies massacre of gay citizens saying ‘such people do not exist’ (April 2017, The Independent)
- Report: Mass arrests of gays in Chechnya; 3 or more killed (April 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Chechen police ‘have rounded up more than 100 suspected gay men’ (April 2017, The Guardian)