Detained Chechen brothers Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev began a hunger strike in a Grozny prison last week. Their action follows a nearly two-year ordeal involving imprisonment, abduction and torture.
Pro-government forces first detained Salekh Magamadov (20) and Ismail Isayev (18) in April 2020. Held for almost two months at a traffic regiment headquarters, their abductors forced them to repent on video for posting to an anti-regime Telegram channel.
Chechnya’s authoritarian President Ramzan Kadyrov rules his semi-autonomous republic as a personal fiefdom with the support of Russian President Putin. Under his rule, there are regular substantiated reports of anti-gay purges, disappearances and torture.
Reportedly the detained brothers underwent beatings and attempts at ‘conversion’ during their imprisonment. One brother is gay, and the other undergoing gender transition.
Escape from Chechnya
Following their release, their parents took the brothers out of the capital and the Russian LGBT Network then helped them escape Chechnya. Isayev and Magamadov’s parents subsequently also left Chechnya. Police then interrogated more than 20 friends and relatives in an attempt to locate the parents.
In February this year, Russian police detained the brothers and turned them over to Chechen authorities.
Chechen police have now kept Salekh Magamadov and Ismail Isaev imprisoned in Grozny for over ten months. Their lawyers say the police have tortured the brothers during that time.
With prison authorities banning relatives from visiting the detained Chechen brothers, lawyers learned of their hunger strike through prison staff.
President Ramzan Kadryov not only persecutes LGBT Chechens. He also contradictorily denies reports of their existence.
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