A Chechen fugitive who left the Russian republic to escape the “gay purge” currently underway, has shared a harrowing account of his escape with liberal Russian magazine Snob.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, shared the disturbing story of a 17-year-old boy who was pushed off of a 9th floor balcony by his uncle, after being outed.
The fugitive said he was forced to leave his country after revealing his sexuality to his mullah (local religious scholar).
The mullah responded, saying, “As a Chechen and as a man I do not want to see you here. Neither in the mosque, nor in this district. I want you to leave now, because everything you said is the most disgusting thing you can find out. I hope your relatives have the dignity to wash away your shame. Go away.”
That’s when the mullah told him about the 17-year-old’s death.
Last week, survivors reported that families of gay and bisexual men are invited to prison sites to take part in killing their relatives.
‘Kill your loved ones or we will anyway,’ is the message authorities have reportedly sent.
“They tell the parents to kill their child,” said one man who managed to escape. “They say, ‘Either you do it or we will.’ They call it, ‘Cleaning your honor with blood.’”
Some have apparently committed the act.
“They tortured a man for two weeks,” he said. “They summoned his parents and his brothers who all came. They said to them, ‘Your son is a homosexual. Sort it out or we’ll do it ourselves.’ They replied, ‘It’s our family, we’ll do it.’ The family took him and killed him in the forest. They buried him there. They didn’t even give him a funeral.”
Alvi Karimov, a spokesperson for the Chechen government, denied the existence of LGBT people while giving a blanket denial of the existent of any ‘gay’ concentration camps. “You can’t detain and repress people who simply don’t exist in the republic,” he said.
Vladimir Putin has dismissed reports of gay torture and arrests as “rumors”, saying, “Of course, I will have a talk with the general prosecutor and interior minister so they support you on the topic that you have raised on information or rumors, we might say, about what is happening to sexual minorities in the North Caucasus.”