Brothers Salekh Magamadov (20) and Ismail Isaev (17), detained by authorities in Chechnya for the past 10 months, have announced that they would go on a hunger strike unless the case against them is moved to another region. Magamadov and Isaev, who are gay, had moved to the city of Nizhny Novgorod in July 2020 and were planning to flee to Russia and then an unspecified foreign country. However, authorities abducted them and took them back to Chechnya in February 2021. The brothers were booked under the country’s anti-terrorism laws for allegedly providing food to terrorists. They face up to 15 years in jail if convicted. The brothers said they were beaten and tortured while in custody and were forced to sign fabricated confessions. According to rights organisations, Magamadov and Isaev were being prosecuted for speaking out against Chechen authorities and for being gay. “They are being prosecuted on spurious charges solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including in connection with their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, and must be immediately released. All charges against them must be dropped,” Amnesty International had said.


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