Chechen 'gay purge' victim: 'No one knows who will be next'

Six months after reports emerged that gay men were being detained illegally and tortured in the Russian republic of Chechnya, a young man has spoken publicly for the first time about his ordeal.

Maxim Lapunov has described being held for 12 days in a blood-soaked cell, beaten with sticks, threatened and humiliated by police.

But despite reporting what he endured to the authorities, his lawyer says no proper investigation has been conducted.

Mr Lapunov, who is 30 and from Siberia, had been working and living in Chechnya for two years when he alleges he was grabbed and dragged into a car one night in March by two men he didn't know.

    At a police facility he was interrogated, forced to name another man and beaten.

    "They burst in every 10 or 15 minutes shouting that I was gay and they would kill me," he recalled, speaking at a small gathering in Moscow convened by human rights activists.

    "Then they beat me with a stick for a long time: in the legs, ribs, buttocks and back. When I started to fall, they pulled me up and carried on," he said quietly.

    "Every day they assured me they would kill me, and told me how."

    Twenty-seven men with similar stories have fled the southern Russian republic since Novaya Gazeta newspaper first reported on the violent round-up in spring. They were helped to safety by a group called LBGT-Network, along with 52 relatives and partners.

    One of the Chechen men told the BBC at the time that he had been tortured by electric shock and said he believed the aim was to "exterminate" gay men in the republic. Some who fled have since received asylum abroad.

    In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered law enforcement agencies to support Russia's human rights ombudswoman in addressing what he called the "rumours" of abuse in Chechnya. His intervention came after senior European politicians voiced concern.

    Since then, however, activists say nothing concrete has been done. Read more via BBC