LGBTI crisis in Chechnya: People tortured in ‘gay purge’ need to flee the country

‘LGBTI people in Chechnya urgently need our help to save them from imprisonment, torture and murder’

LGBTI people are being rounded up, detained, tortured and executed in Chechnya. The ‘gay purge’ has been happening periodically since the end of 2016.

What we know is that Chechen authorities have targeted human rights defenders, their critics and LGBTI people. Since 2016 hundreds of people have been detained, with many of those executed. The authorities even tortured several LGBTI detainees to death.

Even though when international attention has focused on Chechnya after each ‘gay purge’, the persecution stops for awhile, but it picks up again once that attention wanes.

It has to stop
At Gay Star News we have decided enough is enough, we don’t want people to forget their LGBTI brothers and sisters in the Northern Caucuses.

We have to decided to partner with the Russian LGBTI Network to help protect the persecuted LGBTI people. We want to help save their lives by helping to evacuate them from Russia.

Mikhail Tumasov, Chairperson of the Russian LGBTI Network, told Gay Star News: ‘In 2017, the world learned about what could happen in our industrial age: people are caught, tortured, and killed solely because of their sexual orientation.

‘And where? In one of the most civilized countries: Russia, in a country that is famous for ballet, opera, humanistic literature.

‘And here again a new wave. Again, ordinary people and their families suffer. And this time, the killers are more cynical, for they enjoy their impunity. Putin is silent. So it means he feels fine with these murders.’

The Russian LGBTI Network has been the key organization in getting LGBTI Chechens to safety. They have organized new IDs for them, rushed them to safe houses where they provide them with bedding, clothing, food and in some cases, emergency medical care.

From there they are trying to evacuate them to a new country where they can seek asylum and hopefully lead new lives in safety. But all of this comes at a cost.

Simply getting one person asylum in a new country costs at least $4,555.

Let them know they’re loved
Gay Star News’ editor-in-chief, Tris Reid-Smith, explained why we have decided to launch a campaign to raise urgent funds for the Russian LGBTI Network.

‘Gay Star News has long committed itself to improve the lives of LGBTI people around the world. And in the case of Chechnya we’re leading the community’s response and making sure we can make a difference,’ Reid-Smith said.

‘LGBTI people in Chechnya urgently need our help to save them from imprisonment, torture, and murder.

‘Merely reporting on the issue is not enough. So we are proud to be partnering with the Russian LGBT Network, the organization helping LGBTI people escape Chechnya. Every dollar, euro, and pound our community gives will help evacuate the LGBTIs in the most danger.’

Reid-Smith said not only do we want to raise money, but we want to pressure Chechnya to permanently end the persecution.

‘And we want to give hope to LGBTIs in Chechnya and in other countries facing persecution. We want them to know our community loves them and that we stand with them in the time of their greatest need,’ he said.

Help us make a difference
As well as using our investigative journalism to keep you informed about what’s happening on-the-ground as it happens; we’re inviting you to make a difference today by donating to the Chechyna Crisis Appeal.

Every dollar, euro and pound you give will help evacuate LGBTI people in the most danger. And to pressure the Chechen authorities to stop this persecution.

Please also share our appeal with your followers, friends and family; ensuring we raise awareness and apply pressure to permanently end this abuse.

by Shannon Power
Source – Gay Star News