A gay man is speaking out after suffering torture in a Chechnya concentration camp.
Maxim Lapunov was one of the first victims of the ‘gay purge‘ in March 2017.
Unknown thugs grabbed and dragged him into a car one night.
He was then allegedly held for 12 days in a blood-soaked cell. He says he suffered terrible threats, humiliation and torture.
Laponov also said he could hear, in his cell, the cries and screams of other gay men in the concentration camp.
Life in a Chechnya concentration camp
Police interrogated and tortured him to name other gay men, he says.
‘They burst in every 10 or 15 minutes shouting that I was gay and they would kill me,’ he also said.
‘Then they beat me with a stick for a long time: in the legs, ribs, buttocks, and back. When I started to fall, they pulled me up and carried on.
‘Every day they assured me they would kill me, and told me how.’
Lapunov hoped the government, and police, would investigate. He said it must happen ‘because we are all people and all have rights’.
He is the only person who suffered in the concentration camps that has dared to speak publicly about his experience.
Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has denied he is leading the torture of LGBTI people.
Refusal of justice
Stravropol’s regional court has now declined to initiate criminal proceedings.
On 21 September 2017, Lapunov filed a complaint concerning unlawful actions of law enforcement officers in Chechnya.
The Russian LGBT Network has also said the court have decided his complaint is somehow ‘unlawful’.
Stravropol’s court then ignored the claim the Chechen investigator ‘falsified’ case materials.
Judge Vyacheslav Soloviev also ignored arguments the investigation was conducted by law enforcement officers of Chechnya.
Filing appeals with the European Court of Human Rights
The Committee Against Torture, a charity aiding Lapunov, is appealing the decision to the Constitutional Court.
The Russian LGBT Network will aid Lapunov in filing a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
‘It is quite hard to explain why the court found the Maxim complaint unlawful,’ a Russian LGBT Network spokesperson told Gay Star News.
‘We believe that this decision was politically motivated. The Russian authorities at all levels (including statements made at the highest level) repeat constantly that there were and there are no mass persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya.
‘Moreover, the Chechen authorities claim that there are no LGBT people in Chechnya. The case of Maxim is the case of a person who was illegally detained and tortured because of sexual orientation. Probably, the official criminal proceeding within this case would mean for the local authorities the acceptance of the fact that persecution exist.
‘We consider this decision unjust.’