Your Activist makes no apologies for returning to the tragedy of Chechnya’s gay community.
Dozens of men are now known to have fled from Chechnya in the past few months, forced out, by police or their families, because they are gay.
“Arthur”, who has fled Chechnya, told Sky News:
“The most difficult thing that could happen to a person is to be gay in Chechnya. You can be easily killed and no one would be punished – ever. Even your relatives would be happy.”
In December the police began to round up gay men and imprison them in an operation that was described by activists and human rights groups as an “anti-gay purge”. The regional police chief turned up with some of his men at Arthur’s home but he was out at the time.
“I was saved by just a few minutes. But the policemen called (my telephone) and told me to come back to the house. My relatives also asked me to come back to the house. (The police chief) said I should stand in front of him because I have betrayed him personally, because I am gay, a gay Chechen. I think he also wanted to get information from me about other friends. I understood the situation very well. I didn’t come back.”
That’s when Arthur fled. The officer in charge threatened to take away one of his family members until he returned, but Arthur fled for his life.
Dozens of men have fled from Chechnya in the past few months, including Maxim who told Sky News that he was electrocuted and beaten over the course of two weeks in a Chechen prison.
Prison officers gave metal bars to inmates in his crowded cell and singled out other prisoners for beatings, adding that upon his release, the police told his family that he was gay. Maxim said his relatives did not believe the police – but Arthur says “My relatives are trying to find me, so they can avenge the family’s honour.”
This must stop.