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Chechen 'Gay Purge' Victim Speaks Out

Image: Chechen 'Gay Purge' Victim Speaks Out

Openly gay Maxim Lapunov, 30, gives a press conference in Moscow on Oct. 16, 2017. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Oct 2017 10:23 AM

A Chechen “gay purge” victim has spoken publicly about his ordeal for the first time and the picture he paints is horrific.

Maxim Lapunov’s account comes six months after reports emerged that gay men were being detained and tortured in the region, BBC News noted.

The 30-year-old from Siberia had been living in Chechnya for two years when two men allegedly pulled him into a car one night in March, BBC News reported. He was taken to a police station where he was interrogated and beaten by authorities.

“They burst in every 10 or 15 minutes shouting that I was gay and they would kill me," he said, according to BBC. "Then they beat me with a stick for a long time: in the legs, ribs, buttocks and back. When I started to fall, they pulled me up and carried on.”

Lapunov spent 12 days in a basement, The Guardian noted, where he endured being beaten and humiliated by Chechen security forces who demanded to know whether he was gay.

The Russian republic stands accused of rounding up, detaining and torturing at least 100 gay men as a way of cracking down on homosexuality, international human rights activists revealed earlier this year.

Since news of the round-up broke, 27 men with similar narratives have fled Chechen.

Lapunov is the first to come forth and speak publicly about the experience but, despite having informed officials about the incident, no proper investigations have been conducted, according to BBC News.

Tanya Lokshina, a co-author of a report on the purge, said per CBC that "Russian authorities at different levels made numerous statements about the fact that not a single victim filed an official complaint and that made it easy for officials to dismiss the complaint as rumors."

She commended Lapunov for his courage to file an official report but said that authorities have still not taken action.

This is what prompted Lapunov to come forward and speak out.

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A Chechen "gay purge" victim has spoken publicly about his ordeal for the first time and the picture he paints is horrific.
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Tuesday, 17 Oct 2017 10:23 AM
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