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Survivor of the Chechen gay purge has been kidnapped by his own father

Zelimkhan Akhmadov was heard screaming for help as he was forced inside a car

2018-07-16

A survivor of the Chechn anti-gay purge has been kidnapped by his own father.

Zelimkhan Akhmadov, 20, was detained multiple times in Chechen’s anti-gay purge which saw the authorities detaining, torturing and executing suspected gay men.

However, Zelimkhan escaped after being tortured and pressure to ‘out’ his friends and he was put on a federal wanted list and he was also in danger from his family who had been told to murder him as an ‘honour killing’.

In April this year, Zelimkhan was nearly kidnapped by the Chechen police and some of his own family but he managed to escape, but one of the kidnappers stabbed the friend he was staying with.

Zelimkhan found refuge at the Russian LGBT Network who put him in a safe house but on Friday (July 13), he was taking out the rubbish when a group of people – including his own father – forced him into a car.

Witnesses said they heard him screaming for help and he managed to send a short text message to the Russian LGBT Network simply saying ‘help me’, the Russian news site Novaya Gazeta reported.

It was then the Network asked for St Petersburg police to open an investigation into his kidnapping.

After a few days, local police arrested a group of people on suspicion of his disappearance and they detain the group and also Zelimkhan at the local station.

Now a lawyer and the Russian LGBT Network are accompanying him at the police station.

Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programmes at Freedom House – an independent organisation that advocates for democracy and human rights – said: “The persecution of the Chechen LGBT community is tragically far from over.

“Like many others, Zelimkhan fled Chechnya after being repeatedly detained and beaten by local authorities because of his perceived sexual orientation.

“Given the lack of a credible investigation by the Russian authorities, Freedom House echoes the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolution of June 27, urging the international community to press for an independent investigation into these atrocities committed by the Chechen authorities.”