Russian Files Chechnya ‘Gay Purge’ Complaint With European Rights Court

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05/24/2019

A gay Russian man who says he was abducted and tortured by police in Chechnya has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after Russian investigators refused to open a criminal case in the matter, according to his lawyers. The complaint by Maksim Lapunov, the only person to publicly come forward with accusations that he was targeted in a purge of gay men in the southern Russian region, was filed with the Strasbourg court on May 24, lawyers with the Russia-based Committee for the Prevention of Torture said in a statement. Lapunov says he was swept up in what rights groups call a brutal “purge” of gay men by authorities in Chechnya, whose Kremlin-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, rules the mainly Muslim North Caucasus region unchallenged. He says he was abducted in Chechnya’s capital, Grozny, in March 2017 and subjected to beatings while being held captive in a local police facility for nearly two weeks.

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