A gay refugee from Chechnya has gone on state TV there to say sorry for being a ‘disgrace’ to the republic.
Movsar Eskerkhanov was one of the most outspoken voices against the autonomous Russian region when it locked up gay people in concentration camps.
Dozens of men have come forward to say they were tortured in these secret prisons.
Over 200 people have allegedly been arrested this year alone.
Eskerkhanov told Time, and other publications, he was afraid for his life in Chechnya. Threatened and extorted, he asked for asylum in Germany.
In the German refugee camp, according to Eskerkhanov, other Chechens recognized him and attacked him. He says he is still receiving death threats.
But Germany refused him asylum. And he disappeared for several months.
Eskerkhanov returns on Chechnya State TV
Now, a ‘front-page investigation’ on TV in Chechnya has branded Eskerhanov a ‘mentally ill person’.
Grozny State Television, a government-controlled news media, claim the gay refugee ‘cooked up’ the story which was ‘sensationalized’ by the media.
It asked: ‘For whom was it beneficial to show him in a bad light, denigrating his honor and the honor of the entire Chechen people?’
Eskerkhanov told Grozny State Television that journalists ‘set him up’. He admits he ‘disgraced’ Chechnya and its people.
‘Therefore, I apologize to the residents of Chechnya, the leadership of Chechnya, the Chechens living in the North Caucasus and Europe,’ he said.
Fears are being raised that Eskerkhanov went along with the ‘report’ as his family are being threatened – possibly with their lives.
Previously, his mother was quoted as being ‘ashamed to look people in the eyes’ and claimed her son was a psychopath.
Gay refugee: ‘We feared he was assaulted, or even killed.’
LGBTI Chechnya sources, who are remaining anonymous to protect their identity, told Gay Star News that Eskerkhanov disappeared off the radar two months ago.
‘We feared he was assaulted, or even killed,’ one said to GSN. ‘But quite frankly, I’m now even more concerned about his well-being.’
In April this year, it was estimated Chechnya was or is operating six concentration camps, with at least 200 men illegally detained there.
Russian pop star and singer Zelim Bakaev is feared to be one of the many killed as part of the purge.
Leader Ramzan Kadyrov had vowed to eliminate the gay community ‘by the beginning of Ramadan’, which this year fell on 26 May.
Kadyrov’s spokesperson Alvi Karimov has claimed gay people ‘simply do not exist’ in the republic.
He said: ‘If there were such people in Chechnya, their relatives would send them somewhere from whence they could not return.’