Chechnya: “They Have Long Arms and They Can Find Me”

My life is ruined. I cannot go back. And it’s not safe here either. They have long arms and they can find me and the others anywhere in Russia, just give them time…

− “Magomed,” victim of the anti-gay purge in Chechnya currently in hiding in an
undisclosed location.

In February 2017, Chechnya’s law enforcement and security officials launched an anti-gay purge. They rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, held them in unofficial detention facilities for days, humiliated, starved, and tortured them. They forcibly disappeared some of the men. Others were returned to their families barely alive from beatings. Their captors exposed them to their families as gay and encouraged their relatives to carry out honor killings.

Although Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the round-ups, the information presented in this report shows that top-level local authorities in Chechnya sanctioned them. Russia’s federal government has pledged to investigate, but intense and well-founded fear of official retaliation and honor killings, and overwhelming stigma will prevent many victims from coming forward. Read more via Human Rights Watch