Moscow man abducted to Chechnya and interrogated on LGBT+ activists in terrifying ordeal

Chechnya Russia

A Moscow man was abducted and taken to Chechnya where he was interrogated for information on LGBT+ activists, the Russian LGBT Network reports.

On Wednesday (25 August), the group said that a Dagestan native named Ibragim Selimkhanov was approached by four Chechen-speaking men near a subway station in the city’s Novogireyevo District on 15 May.

The men, who were wearing civilian clothes, forced him into a car and took his passport, phone and apartment keys. He was driven to the airport and ordered onto a plane which took him to the Chechen capital of Grozny.

On arrival he was handed over to the local police, who reportedly threatened and exerted psychological pressure on him while seeking the information about the emergency assistance programme run by the Russian LGBT Network, Radio Free Europe said.

The group provides a vital lifeline to the LGBT+ community in the North Caucasus, a region notorious for persecuting queer people as part of a horrifying “gay purge”.

Chechen officials deny that any LGBT+ people exist there, let alone a gay purge; however, their claims are countered by dozens of harrowing reports from refugees who have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and seen others killed in gay concentration camps.

After a few days in custody Selimkhanov was freed by his captors and taken to his mother, who lives in Grozy.

He remained under permanent surveillance by Chechen authorities but managed to quietly leave the house and escape to Moscow, where he filed a complaint with police.

According to the Caucasian Knot, a news outlet that covers the Caucasus region, the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation refused to investigate his complaint.

A similar ordeal was reported in May this year when officials detained and interrogated the family of two gay brothers who fled the region.
20 of the brothers’ relatives were held in the village of Komsomolskoye in the Urus-Martan district of Chechnya and were interrogated for hours about the whereabouts of the men and their parents, according to local media reports.

The two brothers were eventually detained by Russian police and handed back to authorities in Chechnya.