• Demonstrators protest over the crackdown on gay men in Chechnya outside the Russian Embassy in London on June 2, 2017. (AFP/Justin Tallis / Getty Images)
"They said that I'm not a man, just some creature, that I am nothing."
By
Chloe Sargeant

2 Aug 2017 - 1:43 PM  UPDATED 2 Aug 2017 - 1:48 PM

Content Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of torture, assault, and homophobic slurs. 

A Russian LGBTQI+ activist group is reporting that it has evacuated and re-homed 64 gay Chechen men over the last four months, due to the ongoing 'purge' of gay men by Chechnya's officials.

The Russian LGBT Network released a 31-page report, detailing the rescue and relocation of 64 people from the semi-autonomous region. Those rescued were placed in shelters around central Russia.

The report also contains statements from some of the men about the torture and assault they experienced at the hands of the Chechen government.

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“If we have such people here, then I’m telling you officially, their relatives won’t let them be, because of our faith, our mentality, customs and traditions. Even if it’s punishable under the law, we would still condone it."

Some of the men also speak about being threatened with rape, and one men says that he was shown a torture video of another gay Chechen man that the officials had filmed themselves - it showed them inserting barbed wire in a man's anus.

“I endured as much as I could, but I broke when they showed me a video of the tortures. They filmed it themselves. They caught a guy, and he allegedly had contacts with terrorists. They brought in a hollow tube and a barbed wire. They put a tube inside of him. In his anus. Then, they put the barbed wire inside this tube. Then they took the tube out. And then they were slowly pulling the barbed wire out. When I saw that video and realised they had already brought the tube and the barbed wire, I broke. I agreed to collaborate with them... They enjoyed the torture."

One of the authors of the report is Elena Milashina of the Novaya Gazeta, the paper who published the original report breaking the story about Chechnya's government target gay men. Milashina's contribution to the report claims that Chechen authorities have begun to target lesbian women now, as well as gay men.

In April, Novaya Gazeta reported that over 100 gay men had disappeared from the streets of Chechnya, and claimed that several had been killed. 

Since, there have been numerous reports of torture, murder, and abduction of LGBTQI+ Chechens, and activists and celebrities have come together in order to shed light on the issue.

You can read the full report from The Russian LGBT Network in English via The Washington Blade.

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