Words: Steve Brown
Two people have died and 40 people have been detained in Chechnya in a new crackdown against the LGBT+ community.
In 2017, it was reported that more than 100 gay men were arrested, tortured and killed in the predominately Muslim region of Russia and when Chechen authorities denied the accusations, a probe found nothing to support the reports.
But now, the Russian LGBT Network – which has been monitoring the situation and helping victims of the anti-gay purge – said that around 40 men and women have been detained in the same facility on suspicion of being gay since December.
At least two of them have died of torture.
Igor Kochetkov, program director at the Russian LGBT Network, said: ““However, we know that around 40 people were detained, both men and women.
"At least two people died as a result of tortures. We also know that the detentions are conducted by the law enforcement officers, and the victims are detained in Argun.
"The local police makes every effort to prevent victims from leaving the region or applying to the courts in the future.
"They take away documents, they threat the victims with the criminal proceedings against them or their close ones, and they force them to sign empty forms”.
Kochetkov claimed the new wave of persecution started at the end of 2018 when authorities detained the administrator of a social media group.