After a year-long investigation into Chechnya’s gay purge, reporter James Longman came out to the Chechen police chief thought to oversee the abuse.
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James Longman works for American ABC’s Nightline. Over the last twelve months, he interviewed victims of the gay purge conducted in the autocratic Russian republic.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov rules the semi-autonomous republic with an iron fist. Despite previous conflicts with Moscow, he enjoys the support of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Chechnya’s gay purge
Kadyrov’s regime, long known for human rights abuses, first began its notorious gay purge in 2017. At that time, it allegedly set up concentration camps to detain gay men. Human rights groups then reported that the regime tortured and even killed gay men in those camps.
Earlier this year, reports emerged of a renewed gay purge. The Russian LGBT Network claimed the regime incarcerated another 40 gay men and women. At least two of those people died during their imprisonment.
After investigating the Chechen gay purge for the past year, James Longman traveled to Chechnya with a film crew to speak to the police.
Nightline’s investigation of Chechnya’s gay purge
James later wrote about his decision to come out to General Apti Alaudinov, head of the Chechen police force.
“We were heading to a police station. Because Chechen officials totally deny the accounts of police brutality toward gay people, we did not expect to see something incriminating or necessarily much at all.
“But as we swept into the parade ground and we were met by 50 or so armed commandos, all standing to attention.
“I’ve definitely had some awkward coming out moments in my life. But I don’t think any can compare to telling a man who is the head of a police force accused of torturing hundreds of LGBTQ people that I’m gay.”
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