In Chechnya, a Russian man who says he was kidnapped and tortured by police has become the first openly gay witness to describe what human rights groups are calling a “gay pogrom” carried out by Chechen officials. Thirty-year-old Maxim Lapunov told reporters Monday he was abducted on the street in the Chechen capital Grozny last March and taken to a bloodstained jail cell where he was tortured for 12 days.
Maxim Lapunov: “The cell was really scary. It was about two-by-two meters, and a quarter of the cell was simply covered in blood. It wasn’t blood from yesterday or the day before yesterday. It was fresh. It just soaked into the floor. First, they were beating me with plastic pipes. I cannot say exactly for how long, but it was long. I was falling down on my knees because I could no longer stay on my feet any longer. My legs, my thighs, buttocks, back were all beaten. They would let me take a breath now and then, but afterwards pushed me back up and resumed the beating, shouting threats and accusations.”
Human rights groups say as many as 100 people, mainly gay young men, were swept up by Chechen police and tortured earlier this year.