Recent intelligence proves that the Chechen authorities started to detain and torture homosexuals again in 2018. Political Scientist Rémy Bonny was contacted by two Chechen refugees in the European Union who provided detailed and credible intelligence about the human rights violations against the LGBTI-community happening in Chechnya. (This article has a copyright disclaimer, see bellow)
The first witness fled to Belgium in 2018 and is living in a refugee centre with a relative now. Since his relative does not know the real reason for his stay in Belgium, the identity of the refugee is only known by Rémy Bonny. The communication with this witness happened via encrypted message apps.
The victim was detained in Argun from 16/07/2018 till 25/07/2018 by the local police. The arrest happened while the victim was working.
“I was tortured by my relative who works for the Police in Chechnya and escaped by paying a lot of money to them’
The relative (identity known by Rémy Bonny) of the witness works at the Police of Argun – testimonials already referred this police corps in 2017. After the detention of the victim, he learned that his relative received the order to detain his relative by Argun’s Police Chief Kataev Ayub. In the evening of 16/07/2018, the detainee met with Ayub for the first time.
After the interrogation by Ayub, the detainee was taken to an unknown location in the middle of the night. When he arrived at this location, the first forms of torture started. The detainee declares that it was cold in his cell and that his clothing was insufficient [“… only wearing a T-shirt and jeans”]. The provided food was a bread and water diet.
About the form of torture, the former detainee declares that he was beaten, but that also more severe forms of torture. Out of respect for the psychological condition and personal integrity of the witness no further details will be given about the forms of torture.
According to the refugee, he was detained based on his homosexuality. The evidence was gathered through framed audiovisual material:
“There was a video in which I spoke in the apartment of a friend. I was framed by guys from my city that I have known almost all my life (this video was made in May of 2018). I didn’t even know that I was being shot. And they took me only in July .. in this video I said that I don’t like this power and we do not have the freedom to choose .. but the topic was also ‘my friend’ “
The victim was released after the payment of 6,600 USD through a friend of the mother who worked at the Criminal Investigation Department of Argun – APOC. His mother was a government employee and was set of duty after the incident. At this moment, his mother was allowed to go back to work. (More details are known about his mother, but are not revealed to secure the witness’ identity)
Two days after the former detainee was released he fled to Russia. Since he feared for his life in Russia, he eventually fled to Europe.
The victim was performing Akhmat on a professional basis in Chechnya. Abuzayed Vismuradov – so-called Patriot – was member of the training club that he was also member of. Patriot has very close links to the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Patriot has a very notorious reputation in Chechnya.
The victim declared that on a daily basis the guards in the detention centre told him that Patriot would show up. In the end, he did not show up. But this can be classified as a form of mental torture.
Nevertheless, the witness declares that the head of the police in Argun has a similar reputation in terms of “cruelty”.
The witness lives now in relative safety in a refugee centre in Belgium together with a relative. This relative thinks he had to flee Chechnya because of political reasons. Only his mother and the relative who tortured him know about the real reasons for his fleeing.
“If this conversation is recognised by someone else or another .. I am waiting for the death
penalty .. this is a very dangerous conversation that threatens me very much for me and my family”
The second witness is an indirect witness – who fled for prosecution of his homosexuality in Chechnya in 2016. He provided intel about his former boyfriend who was detained by the Chechen authorities in 2018. Since the 2018 victim still lives in Chechnya, no identity can be revealed. The meeting between the indirect witness and Rémy Bonny happened in Eindhoven, The Netherlands on 29/12/2018 in an ad random chosen location. The identities are known by Rémy Bonny.
His boyfriend was detained on the suspicion of homosexuality – but according to the indirect witness their was no real evidence. Therefore he was also suspected to be a drug-user. According to the indirect witness, this is a common practise in Chechnya to hold people where there is a lack of evidence.
The victim was detained in 2018 for 55 days. He was taken in detention by Gayrbek Delimkhanov – the head of the Drug Prevention Unit in Grozny. Delimkhanov is a family member of Ramzan Kadyrov. This – again – leads to the suspicion that the detention and torturing of homosexuals in Chechnya is a direct order of the Chechen leader. The victim was being detained at a Drugs Prevention Centre (“Nacrological Centre”) in Grozny.
During his time in detention, the victim was beaten and bullied on a daily basis. Also, the prisoners were taken to work every morning by a van. They had to work “as slaves – for free”.
In-between the conversations between guards, the victim heard that more homosexuals were being detained in the centre. At least 20 people were staying in the room where the victim was staying. There was a lack of sanitary for the detainees. According to the indirect witness, the victim assumes that there were at least 100 people detained at the centre. But probably not all of them were detained on the grounds of homosexuality.
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