Chechen pop singer Zelim Bakaev, who is feared to have fallen victim to Chechnya’s anti-gay purge, has been missing for three months.
Almost two dozen gay Chechens, or more, have found refuge in Canada under a program developed by the Canadian government and the LGBTI refugee aid program Rainbow Railroad.
Many countries condemned last spring’s homophobic and murderous anti-gay crackdown in Chechnya, but only five countries have offered to help fleeing gay Chechens.
After Ramadan ended on June 24, Chechnya again started arresting its LGBT citizens, says Igor Kochetkov of the Russia LGBT Network. About 100 sexual minorities were reportedly arrested in the spring crackdown, and apparently another 10 have been detained since mid-June.
LGBTI rights supporters have raised $300,000 or more to help Chechens whose lives are in danger because a homophobic crackdown in Chechnya. The next fundraiser will be in Hong Kong.
Police in St. Petersburg, Russia, gave LGBT demonstrators a pleasant surprise: In contrast to previous years’ harassment, police on May 17 protected 300 LGBT people and allies at a rally celebrating the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
About 200 LGBT people worldwide have been arrested in recent weeks in anti-LGBT police actions in southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.
In the intensely homophobic Russian republic of Chechnya, what began as a minor drug arrest escalated into mass arrests of Chechen men suspected of being gay, torture, deaths and secret prisons described as concentration camps. Data on telephone calls to and from arrested Chechens were used to track down other suspects.
LGBT people aren’t the only ones who are at risk of official violence in Chechnya. Chechen leaders have issued threats against journalists who reported the mass arrests and torture of men in Chechnya who were suspected of being gay.
The Russian republic of Chechnya has reportedly sent gay men that it arrested last week to secret prisons described as “concentration camps.”