A 22-year-old bisexual woman who was beaten and tortured in Chechnya over her sexuality wants Russian authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against her parents.
Aminat Lorsanova filed a complaint with the Federal Investigative Committee of Russia against her parents and a Chechen psychiatric clinic, according to the Russian LGBT Network.
Lorsanova was held against her will for 25 days at the clinic in capital city Grozny in August 2018. During that time, she said, a staff member known to her parents beat her while reading the Koran. She said this was an attempt to rid her of “evil spirits”.
“He was beating me with a stick in the solar plexus [in the middle of the torso], pressing this area and below with his fingers,” she said.
“He put down my skirt to the hips and was pressing there as well. I was screaming out of pain, and he was yelling prayers.
“My mother and father observed the process but did not do anything, even though I asked for help and asked them to stop that.”
Lorsanova said she also spent four months at a separate institution. She said in late 2018, her father restrained her and injected her with an anti-psychotic medication against her will at least six times.
“He put handcuffs on me and tied my legs with adhesive tape. My mouth was also taped,” she recalled.
“He told me that he was going to treat me like an animal, like a sheep.
“After the injection… I was supposed to sleep that way. He even didn’t unleash my legs and hands.”
Russian LGBT Network helps Aminat Lorsanova flee to safety
Lorsanova managed to escape from Chechnya with the support of the Russian LGBT Network last year. She is now living safely outside of Russia.
Veronika Lapina from the Network said “exorcism” practices are widespread not only in Chechnya, but also among Chechen families outside the republic.
“More than 30 young LGBT women the Network worked with experienced this often sexualised form of inhuman treatment because of their sexual orientation,” Lapina said.
Russian LGBT Network spokesperson Natalia Poplevskaya said so-called “conversion therapy” remains one of the “most difficult” issues in Russia. This is due to “misconceptions related to sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“[This is] despite the fact that homosexuality was depathologized more than 30 years ago,” Poplevskaya said.
“LGBT+ people in Russia face harassment, rapes and violence from people, who try to ‘fix’ their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Chechnya notorious for its violent ‘gay purge’
The Russian republic of Chechnya has become notorious for its attacks on LGBTIQ people.
In 2017, more than 100 suspected gay men faced detention and torture during the country’s so-called “gay purge”. The crackdown reportedly led to a number of deaths.
Then in January 2019 human rights activists said at least two people had been murdered after a new wave of mass arrests targeting gay people.
The Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied the allegations of bloody anti-gay violence in the region. However Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov has always been openly anti-LGBTIQ.
“We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays,” Kadyrov said in 2017.
“To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.”
In December 2018, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed “very serious human rights violations” in Chechnya. This included “clear” and “indisuputable” crimes against the LGBTIQ community.
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