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Russian LGBT organization evacuating people out of Chechnya

Russian LGBT group helping to evacuate gays who are reportedly being tortured and even killed.
Photo credit:
Public Radio International

On Tuesday’s broadcast of NPR’s “Morning Edition” hosted by David Greene, an unidentified guest says she and her organization, The Russian LGBT Network, have helped to evacuate over 40 individuals from Chechnya, saving them from reported torture, persecution and even death.

The conversation took place over Skype, the activist remained anonymous due to the dangerous nature of her work.

The woman confirms that people have been beaten, malnourished and tortured with electric current.

When asked by the host if there are confirmed reports of murder, the interviewee said yes, this is what has been reported to her.

These reports she says are coming from people who have contacted her organization.

“Well, they're writing in emails,” she told Greene. “And in the very beginning, the first people who contacted us, they were terribly scared. And they wanted to ensure, like, if we can be trusted, if we are going to kill them or help them. But basically then we started the evacuation process, and by now we evacuated around 40 people.”

Her first plan of action is to get LGBT people out of Chechnya to other parts of Russia, but the ultimate goal she says is to get them out of the country completely because some of them are being “hunted” by relatives.

Greene asks her to clarify the term "hunted." 

She adds: “Yes, they are being hunted because, like, homosexuality in Chechnya is considered to be a stain on the whole family. And it is believed that the only way to kind of wash away this stain is to kill this person.”

Further, there is no assistance coming from the Russian government, and any reports of human rights violations are ignored, but she would like a full investigation into the situation, something which may happen now that international communities are concerned.

“And at some point, they weren't able to be silent anymore and they started to do something. It's actually a horrible thing for them, too, for their reputation - like, how do they [Russian officials] look like, like monsters?”

Several reports which started last month about a Chechen concentration camp have infiltrated not only the LGBT media, but worldwide networks and their affiliates.

Last month Europe's Gay Star News reported that a Russian official denied any sort of gay "purge" in the nation because, "you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic." 

You can listen to the entire NPR interview HERE