A gay man from Chechnya has spoken out about his experiences in the nation, being rounded up and tortured by police for his sexual orientation.
Amin Dzhabrailov is one of a number of gay men to escape the nation, and to speak with ABC news program Nightline about the horrors facing LGBTQ Chechens. The former hairdresser says the torture began in 2017 when police kidnapped him from his salon and threw him in the trunk of a car. Those same men imprisoned Dzhabrailov, cuffed him to a chair, beat and electrocuted him in hopes of extracting the names of other gay men.
“They tell me that they know that I’m gay, and [to] tell [them] about more gay guys,” Dzhabrilov says. “The sense was [they would] probably just torture them also. … I didn’t give any name[s].”
In hopes of extracting information, the police also told Dzhabrilov he was about to be executed. “They took off my shoes… and they put me on the wall, put [a] bag on my head,” he recalls. “That guy charged his gun, and put [it] right here on my head. And I started painting the wall with my blood. And he said that it’s my last seconds.”
Dzhabrilov is one of an estimated hundreds of men to undergo torture or even execution in Chechnya for their sexual orientation. Chechnya, a semi-autonomous Russian state, ramped up its persecution of LGBTQ citizens after Moscow loyalist Radzman Kadyrov ascended to the nation’s Presidency. In interviews, Kadyrov denies gay people exist in Chechnya, and refers to them as sub-human. He also encourages families to disown or even murder gay relatives, claiming government authorities would look the other way.