International Institutions Helpless in Stopping Anti-LGBT Violence in Chechnya
23 January, 2019

Editor's Note: The following is an article by Hromadske's partner, the Caucasian Knot. It first appeared on their webpage.

International organizations have no efficient instruments to influence Russia in connection with human rights violations in Chechnya, the rights defenders interviewed by the Caucasian Knot media organization believe.

The Caucasian Knot has reported that according to the Russian LGBT Network, starting from late December 2018, about 40 people were detained in Chechnya for their alleged or real sexual orientation, and two persons were killed. While two young men died as a result of "monstrous torture," the Caucasian Knot correspondent was informed by Igor Kochetkov, the head of the Russian LGBT Network.

READ MORE: This Is What We Know About The LGBT Executions in Russia's Chechnya

In 2016-2017, raids on the LGBT in Chechnya were wavy – the first one lasted from December 2016 to February 2017; and in total three such waves of detentions are known, says the report prepared by the Russian LGBT Network and Elena Milashina, a special correspondent of Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper. The report is based on testimonies of the Chechen residents who had been detained and tortured.

READ MORE: We Talked To Reporter Who Exposed LGBT Executions in Russia's Chechnya

Some of the young people detained during this new wave of raids on the LGBT managed to get released after paying the ransom. Practically all the detainees inform law enforcers – under torture – about their acquaintances, a member of the local LGBT community told the Caucasian Knot correspondent on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, his friend stayed in custody for about a week.

"He was tortured with electric current, and he was stabbed several times. He gave them some names, and when he was released, he warned all of them. According to his story, those, who were returned to their relatives in exchange of ransoms, should be taken away from the republic or killed by their relatives. One of the detainees was returned home shaven and in women's clothes," the source added.

READ MORE: Chechnya’s Parliamentary Speaker Participated in Gay Pogroms – HRW

A resident of Chechnya named Ali has confirmed that LGBT persecutions in the republic are widespread; and everyone who wanted to leave the republic was suspected of having links with the LGBT.

"Now, anyone who has disappeared or left home is suspected that his disappearance is connected with his sexual orientation," he told the Caucasian Knot correspondent.

Russian authorities fundamentally deny any human rights violations in Chechnya – all the checks of such information at the republic's level give no results, although European diplomats and international organizations speak about the LGBT persecution in Chechnya as of a proven fact, Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer of the NGO "Legal Initiative", told a Caucasian Knot correspondent.

READ MORE: Russian Newspaper Uncovers Four More Secret Prisons for Gays in Chechnya

"As a lawyer, I see only [one] opportunity – to transfer all these materials to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). International bodies, for example, the ECHR, can establish a violation, oblige to conduct an investigation and keep asking Russian authorities until it [ends]. However, no one can force [Russia] to investigate [crimes and fulfill its international obligations],"  Gnezdilova said.