Russia: LGBT, Terrified for Their Lives in Russia, and Desperate for Asylum

When he was 15, his family found out that Ibrahim (not his real name) was gay.

In a written testimony, the now 20-year-old Chechen recalled to The Daily Beast that from that moment on, local mullahs and “old wives” (faith healers and local women reputed to be witches) “tried to ‘treat’ me for my homosexuality.”

He recalled these “treatments” in graphic detail. “Their abhorrent actions—bloodletting (when the skin is broken off with the help of a medical jar], herbs (after which I had hallucinations, nausea, stomach pains), strong pressure on the painful points of the body, and what was even more terrible—the electric shocks onto the penis. There were also some ‘spells’ or nashidas (though to no effect). These all exhausted me. It went on and off for months till I turned 18.”

Ibrahim is all right, for now, having escaped Chechnya. He is living under the care of Stimul, a Russian LGBT organization staffed by six activists that, among its other work, arranges safe housing and advice and advocacy in large Russian cities for vulnerable LGBT people seeking asylum from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, as well as Chechnya, where homosexuality is not only against the law—except in Tajikistan—but where LGBT people are also viciously persecuted.

In April last year, international outrage followed reports that hundreds of gay men had been detained and tortured, and some killed, by Chechen authorities.

Ultimately, Stimul aims to successfully place LGBT people facing persecution like Ibrahim seeking asylum in European countries, the U.S., and Canada. Read more via the Daily Beast