Global protesters demand an investigation into the Chechnya purge

Global protests demanding an investigation into the purge of gay men in Chechnya took place across Europe and Brazil on Saturday.

Organised by All Out, the campaigns which took place outside Russian embassies across Brasilia, London, Mexico City, Munich, Berlin, Rome, Stockholm and York are raising awareness concerning the fact that persecutors of hundreds of gay men in the republic are still at large.

In a report to mark the anniversary of the purge, Russian LGBT+ rights group The LGBT Foundation reported that in the summer of 2017, at least 200 gay people were held in secret prisons throughout the region.

At least 26 were killed during that time, the report said.

“We have ensured the safety of victims and collected and publicized their testimonies,” leader of the LGBT Foundation Igor Kochetkov said in a statement.

“But one thing we could not do is launch an investigation and ensure criminal prosecution of the perpetrators. The Russian authorities, apparently, do not want to do this.”

“Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, has both denied the existence of LGBT people in his country and said that gay people should move to Canada “to purify our blood”,” wrote Matt Beard of All Out for The Guardian.

“But it is Vladimir Putin and the Russian government who have the final say on what happens in Chechnya. Russia has failed to conduct any meaningful investigations into the appalling abuses that took place. Nobody has been brought to justice. This is unacceptable,” he continued.

“We will tell the Russian government “we are watching you”. We won’t rest until we get justice for Maxim, for Zelim and for the dozens of other men who were tortured and murdered in Chechnya.”

“There is no longer any excuse for Russian authorities not to conduct an effective, thorough, and impartial investigation,” stated Kaitlin Martin, a fellow at Human Rights Watch to The Advocate.

Chechen survivor Maxim Lapunov filed a complaint last September, yet no action has been taken by Russian authorities.

The petition to investigate the purge on All Out’s website has accrued 166,000 signatures.

The abuses during the purge were said to have been “directed by the highest officials” in the state.

“They threw me to the floor and beat me. They beat my chest and my face with their feet, and they hit my head against the floor.”

One of them said: “Do not beat him until the shock stage, at that point he will stop feeling pain. We don’t need that.”