In the first few days, the beatings were so frequent that he stopped feeling any pain, Anzor said, overcome at the memory.Inmates were made to attach the clamps of electric wires to their toes and fingers — and the captors would then turn on the power. Several days later Anzor was taken outside and told that he was free to go — without any explanation.Another gay man, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, told the AP that he was also arrested in Chechnya and held with dozens of others. Beside beatings, we were beaten several times a day with polypropylene tubes. “For 20-30 seconds they spin the handle, you feel the electricity, then you fall down, they stop it, and then immediately you come back to consciousness and you are ready again for a new discharge,” he said.“And it goes on five, six, seven times.” The abuse was first reported in April by the independent newspaper .The other gay man who spoke to the AP said that his ordeal began when police arrested him in a crowded place, because his number was found in the phone of another gay man arrested earlier.He said that he believed his captors, dressed in camouflage, were abusing them one by one in a bid to find more gays.Small details that Anzor didn't want to make public led the police to believe that he and one of his friends were gay, he said.
Chechen officials vehemently deny not only the reported torture of gays, but sometimes their very existence. You cannot detain and persecute those who do not exist,” Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, told the Interfax news agency.
Homosexuality is a taboo in conservative Chechnya, and the gay community there was used to leading a double life — marrying, having children and hiding their sexuality from even their closest family members.
The only time a gay man in Chechnya could be himself is when he met with another gay person, typically through social media, Anzor said. Anzor, who talked to the AP at a safe house provided by LGBT activists, fears for the lives of his family members who will become pariahs in the patriarchal Chechen society if his identity is revealed.
He thought about going to a neighbouring region and reporting his bruises and injuries at the hospital there, but got scared.
“I thought if I would go there, they would be people like that there, too,” he said, laughing nervously.