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Russian Authorities Detain Gay Refugee, Activists Fear He's Being Tortured

Russian Authorities Detain Gay Refugee, Activists Fear He's Being Tortured

Idris Arsamikov

He arrived in Russia from Europe to attend his father's funeral after fleeing the region in 2018 due to persecution because he's gay.


A gay Chechen refugee was detained by Russian police upon his arrival in Moscow Thursday, raising fears that he may be handed over to authorities who will torture and imprison him in his home region.

The North Caucasus LGBTQ+ support group SK SOS believes Idris Arsamikov, 28, was taken to the conservative, majority-Muslim region after arriving at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport for his father’s funeral, the Moscow Timesreports.

On SK SOS’s Telegram channel, a video posted by Arsamikov’s lawyer shows a plainclothes officer escorting him away.

Despite Arsamikov’s lawyer’s encouragement to resist detention, he remains silent.

Crisis Group SK SOS Telegram

Telegram Video

“The agent who came to pick up Idris at Domodedovo did not present documents to local police and refused to inform his lawyer about the detainee’s status,” SK SOS wrote, according to the news outlet’s translation.

“We believe Arsamikov is now being taken to Chechnya, where he faces mortal danger,” the group continued.

Police called an ambulance for Arsamikov after he had a panic attack during his arrest, Meduza, an independent Russian language news outlet that operates from Latvia after recently being deemed illegal by Russian president Vladimir Putin, reports.

The outlet reports that the police chief that issued the arrest bulletin for Arsamikov interrogated him in the past, using torture to get the man to admit to being gay.

In 2018, Arsamikov fled Chechnya after security forces tortured him by electrocution for being in a relationship with another man. He moved to Holland.

The Chechen strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has denied for years that any gay people live in the region while simultaneously rounding up and arresting people accused of homosexuality, the Moscow Timesreports.

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