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Russian authorities kidnap gay men and return them to their home country of Chechnya

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Injustice against LGBT+ community highlights importance of LGBT+ history month

by: Marta Rodriguez

Two gay Chechen men have been kidnapped from their hiding place in Russia and forced to go back to their home country. The apartment, located 280miles (450km) to the east of Moscow, was ransacked and the two men were seized by local police. They were then handed over to Chechnyan authorities, who took them back to the republic.

Photo curtesy of Julie Rose via Pixabay

Salekh Magamadov (20) and Ismail Isayev (17) had been helped by the Russian LGBT Network, a group that fights for LGBT+ rights, to escape the country after they had been tortured and forced to apologise for running an opposition telegram channel. They have been transported to Gudermers, a town west to the capital Grozny, where they are now detained and face ‘mortal danger’ according to the rights group.

Tim Bestsvet, a spokeperson for the LGTB Network, said that lawyers could not reach the two men. One of the lawyers, Mark Alexeyey, said that the men have been kidnapped and that the refusal of the law enforcement to allow him to see the men and the case is ‘illegal’.

It is said that they have "confessed to having provided aid to a member of an illegal armed group", the charge would mean 15 years in prison.

However, Alexeyey said that the authorities "deliberately disseminated false information on the fate" and dismissed the accusation.

Events like this one in Chechnya are not anything new. The predominantly muslim Republic is known for being anti LGBT+, having had the ‘anti-gay purge’ in 2017. People from the LGBT+ community live in fear as they are prosecuted, tortured and even killed.

‘Any day you can be taken’- Ricky, a gay chechnyan man said to ABC news in 2019.

The Russian LGBT Network has already helped more than 200 people flee the republic. It is situations like this that highlight the importance of the LGBT history month, which grants visibility to people from the LGBT+ community, shedding light on terrible situations like the one in Chechnya and encouraging change.


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