Week-ending 5 February 2021
“They are tired and frightened. All this time they were being pressured to refuse a lawyer. There have been cases when relatives brought back to Chechnya people that we had evacuated and then these people would die or, we can say, were probably murdered.”
-Tim Bestsvet, spokesperson for Russian LGBT Network on the cases of Salekh Magamadov and a minor companion.
The Moscow Times, 6 February 2021: Two gay men seized near Moscow this week and sent back to their native Chechnya, a region accused of brutal persecution against homosexuality, face “mortal danger,” a rights group said Saturday. The LGBT Network rights group helped the two Chechen men, Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev, flee Chechnya for Nizhny Novgorod east of Moscow in June last year after they were reportedly tortured by Chechen special police. The two men were detained for unknown reasons in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday and have been sent back to the North Caucasus region, the group said in a statement. LGBT Network spokesman Tim Bestsvet said the men were detained by the FSB domestic intelligence agency and had arrived at a police station in Chechen town of Gudermes on Saturday. “They are tired and frightened,” he told AFP on Saturday. “All this time they were being pressured to refuse a lawyer,” Bestsvet said, adding that a lawyer with the LGBT Network was in Gudermes trying to get access to the men. “There have been cases when relatives brought back to Chechnya people that we had evacuated and then these people would die or, we can say, were probably murdered,” Bestsvet said, adding that Magamadov and Isayev faced “mortal danger.”
RFE/RL: The Russian LGBT Network has warned that two young gay men from Chechnya who were seized in Nizhny Novgorod and driven by car back to the North Caucasus region face “mortal danger.” The Russian NGO reported on its Telegram channel on February 6 that Salekh Magamadov, 18, and a 17-year-old companion had arrived at a police station in Gudermes after being detained by Federal Security Service (FSB) officers earlier this week. The reason for their detentions in Nizhny Novgorod remains unknown, the LGBT Network reported on its website, adding that one of its lawyers was not being granted access to the detainees prior to their interrogation. RFE/RL is not revealing the identity of the second man because he is a minor.
Russian LGBT Network: Salekh Magamadov [and a companion], arrested in Nizhniy Novgorod, are in Chechnya now. After being questioned, they were released, only to be detained again. A deputy Minister of Interior of Chechnya arrived on sight to pressure the father to refuse legal services. On February 4, law enforcement authorities arrested Magamadov and Isaev in Nizhniy Novgorod. Chechen law enforcement took part in the arrest. LGBT Network’s attorney, Alexander Nemov, identified that the law enforcement is taking the two young men to Gudermes, Chechen Republic. The attorney arrived at Gudermes the next day, February 5. The law enforcement in the Gudermes police precinct continuously failed to explain the reasons for Magamadov and [his companion’s] detention and identify their location.