A gay Chechen refugee in Canada has been physically threatened.
Sources have told The Globe and Mail that the incident occurred in August in Toronto, after the refugee agreed to meet a man he had been speaking with on a dating app.
When the refugee arrived at the location, he was put into the back of a car by two men, who swore at him in Chechen. They told him his identity as a gay man was a disgrace to his motherland, before releasing him unharmed.
Toronto police are investigating the attack.
The sources spoke under condition of anonymity, as the Canadian government has not officially recognized a secret program to move Chechen refugees to the country. Earlier this month, the LGBT group Rainbow Railroad confirmed it had helped relocate at least 31 gay and bisexual men to Canada since June, with the help of Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign affairs minister.
The Globe and Mail reports that the incident has panicked these refugees — who believed they would be safe in Canada — and raised concerns over future security risks. The men had fled persecution in Chechnya, which has been reportedly rounding up queer people into concentration camps to be tortured and murdered.
In July, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who has denied the existence of the camps, gave a chilling interview to HBO, where he again said gay people do not exist in Chechnya and if they do, they are devils who should immediately flee to Canada.
"We don't have those kinds of people here. ... If there are there take them to Canada. ... Take them far from us so we don't have them at home. ... To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them," Kadyrov said.