'Gay torture victims' in Chechnya say many people are being killed in secret prisons

Victims of torture in Chechnya speak out about their experiences

Victims of torture have spoken out (Stock image)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A number of gay people from Chechnya have spoken out about the treatment of the country's LGBT community, and claim that murder and torture are now commonplace.

Although the Chechen government continues to deny waging an anti-gay campaign, rights groups allege a systematic programme of persecution against gay and bisexual men, carried out through a series of Nazi-style prison camps.

Now France 24 has recorded a series of testimonies from Chechens at a refuge centre. The refugees, whose identity has been kept anonymous, claim that whilst gay people have always been persecuted in Chechnya the problem is now much worse, with many people being killed.

Those who spoke to France 24 confirm that a network of prisons exists, and the jailors are allowed to act with impunity as their brutality is sanctioned by the state.

The witnesses say they were given leftovers as food in order to feel humiliated, and were tortured through electricity and routine beatings. They claim prisoners were made to stand in a line and adopt a women's name, and parents of gay men would be told to kill their child.

One victim claims a man was taken into the forest by his family, killed and buried without a funeral, after he had been tortured for two weeks. If the man had gone home, the witness says, his family would have klilled him.

Despite the various reports of murder and brutality, Russia has continued to cast doubt on the claims.

Last week Russia's human rights monitor, Tatyana Moskalkova, said the reports could be a "false provocation" and suggested more proof was needed before she could take action.