Human rights activist: Not only gays end up in 'secret prisons' in Chechnya

The topic of “secret prisons” in Chechen territory has already been around for much more than a year, said Igor Kalyapin, head of the Committee to Prevent Torture, in an interview with the Rosbalt news outlet. According to Kalyapin, “undesirables” of all kinds are put in these prisons.

“Unfortunately, facts of this kind are encountered not only in Chechnya. But for this republic the problem remains particularly relevant. As far as I know, even now in the Chechen Republic people continue to be held in places not established by the law. I have received statements about such prisons, I have seen them myself and participated in the inquiry of the Investigative Committee into one of these situations,” Igor Kalyapin recounted.

The human rights activist pointed out that although this topic has become particularly infamous after the situation with the abduction of gays in Chechnya, other people have also ended up in these “secret prisons”.

“Gays have not approached our advocacy organization for this reason. But I consider it completely possible that there may also be gays in these prisons. However, we have never specifically established whether or not there are gays. For us, these are citizens. And I know dozens of stories with a similar conclusion in the Chechen republic. Several organizers of such prisons, as far as I know, are subdivisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The reasons for being placed in such prisons are numerous: starting with statements which seemed extremist to someone. Not so long ago there was a case where a person wrote semi-mythical books about the history of the origin of Chechens. To someone it seemed that he was inciting national discord. So they took him and put him, not in prison in the literal sense, but in a location not stipulated by the law. And they kept him there until he gave his consent to publicly recant,” Kalyapin stated.

Previously Novaya Gazeta put out a number of articles on the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya. In response to a plenary session of the European Parliament, a resolution was adopted with an appeal to the Russian authorities to conduct an impartial investigation of the reports on the random arrest and torture of gays in Chechnya.

  Chechnya, LGBT