Chechnya’s Parliamentary Speaker Participated in Gay Pogroms – HRW
27 May, 2017

Chechnya's Parliamentary Speaker, Mahomed Daudov, was personally present during the abuse of detainees held on suspicion of homosexuality in "secret prisons."

This was stated in a report from Human Rights Watch.

The human rights organization interviewed two former detainees, who claimed that Daudov watched the beating and humiliation of detained gay men in prison in Argun, "contributing his own abusive remarks." Another victim said he saw Daudov on one of the bases in Grozny, the Republic's capital, where other detainees were located.

Chechen Parliamentary Speaker Mahomed Daudov and Leader of the Argun Interior Ministry Ayub Kataev. Photo Credit: Kataev's Instagram

According to these former detainees, Daudov was among a number of officials and other "visitors" who came to the facilities to berate prisoners, "We were like a bunch of monkeys in a zoo," a former detainee told Human Rights Watch.

The report also stated that Daudov presided over a "debasing ceremony" in which the prisoners were forced to confront their families.

"They order you to step forward, admit it to your relatives, admit that you're gay. And you know they'll likely kill you if you don't or they'll just keep torturing you," a former detainee told Human Rights Watch. "Then, they chastise your family members, tell them they brought shame on the family by rearing a pervert, that it's a huge stain on family honor, a stain that needs to be cleansed...They wouldn't says it directly but we all know what it meant."

The authors of the report suggested that Daudov "played a key role in organizing the cleansing" of the Republic of gay men. The Chechen leadership approved this "cleansing."

"It was like a chain. They got one person, go through his phone, torture him, make him name same others, get those others, and so it goes..." one of the former detainees explained to Human Rights Watch, "In the place where I was held, we were four [gay men] at first, but several days later we were already 20...The torture was bad–the beatings, and the electric shocks especially – very few could bear it without breaking."

On April 1 independent Russian newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" reported that in recent weeks more than a hundred men the Security Services suspected of homosexuality had been detained in the Russian region of Chechnya.

In a comment to Hromadske, the editor of the "Novaya Gazeta" special projects department, Elena Milashina, cited data claiming that about 30 men were killed in Chechnya during law enforcement's organized "cleansing" of the LGBT community.

In addition, Hromadske published material from "Novaya Gazeta" (on the basis of a partnership), on two waves of repressions of homosexuals in Chechnya, the involvement of the Republic's top officials, as well as interviews with survivors.

Human rights activist and LGBT activist Ihor Kochetkov told Hromadske that Chechens in Chechnya are being abducted and held in illegal prisons under suspicion of "unconventional orientation".

It was later reported that human rights orgnizations in Finland and Sweden had begun raising funds to help Chechens subjected to pressure and harrasment because of their sexual orientation.

The Mufti of Chechnya promised "Novaya Gazeta" journalists "Allah's retribution". Gatherings at the mosque in Grozny called for reprisals against the journalists.

Later, the "Novaya Gazeta" editorial office received a letter containing white powder.

In mid-March, human rights defenders reported the evactuation of 43 LGBT representatives from Chechnya.

Read more: LGBTI Executions In Russia's Chechnya, Explained

/Written by Eilish Hart