Two people have been tortured to death in new attacks on LGBTI people in Chechnya. Around 40 men and women have been abducted and detained in a government building, based on their alleged sexual orientation.

Over 140 people suspected of being LGBTI have been targeted by the Chechen government to date. The authorities won’t admit that these people even exist, let alone that they’re actively persecuting them.

Tell President Putin to investigate these reports and to ensure that anyone found guilty or complicit in these crimes is brought to justice.

Putin: Stop the killing of LGBTI people in Chechnya

The situation

New reports of abductions, torture and killings

The Chechen authorities have set up a detention camp for people suspected of being LGBTI in a government building, where around 40 people have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. This information has been verified by the Russian LGBT Network.

According to confidential sources, the authorities have destroyed some victims’ passports to prevent them from leaving the country. At least two people have died from injuries inflicted by torture.

This news is absolutely spine chilling. We must take immediate action to stop this atrocity from happening again.

The first wave of attacks

In April 2017 the independent Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, reported that up to 100 men suspected of being gay were abducted as part of a coordinated government campaign.

The men have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and at least three were reported to have been killed. Our researchers have confirmed this with some of the men who managed to escape Chechnya.

Government cover-up

Far from taking responsibility, the Chechen authorities deny that LGBTI people even exist in Chechnya.

‘You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,’ Kadyrov spokesman Alvi Karimov told Interfax. ‘If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.’

And he would be right.

'Honour killings' are still practised in the North Caucasus, particularly in deeply conservative Chechnya. Individuals deemed to have ‘tarnished’ the family’s honour by being LGBTI are sometimes killed by a family member.

Homophobia on the rise

According to Novaya Gazeta, homophobia has been growing in Chechnya since early March 2017 when local media reported that Moscow-based LGBTI rights group GayRussia.ru had applied for permits to stage gay rights rallies across Russia.

This disdain for LGBTI people goes all the way up to government level.

Russia has refused to cooperate or respond to calls for an investigation, as a recent report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe confirms. So far no genuine official investigation has taken place, and not a single person has been held to account for the atrocities committed.

Now that the attacks have resumed, it is vital that we put as much international pressure on the Russian government to end this cruel human rights abuse, and bring those responsible to justice.

Please sign our petition today.