THE first footage has been revealed of a concentration camp in Chechnya where gay men say they were imprisoned and tortured.
Argun prison has reportedly been the base of widespread persecution of gay and bi men in the region.
The video features an interview with an alleged victim, who confirms that the prison building is where he was tortured.
Also interviewed is Ayub Kataev, head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Argun and warden of the prison. He repeats the line of Chechen authorities that there are no LGBTI people in the region.
“Imagine if there are gays,” he says in the video.
“Would we, the Chechens, communicate with them at all? My officers would not even want to touch such people—if they exist—let alone beating or torturing them.”
Chechen authorities have continued to deny the existence of the gay concentration camps even as genocide charges have been filed.
Kheda Saratova, Chechnya’s Human Right Commissioner, said those making the accusations are “determined to keep Chechnya burning”.
“Sadly, neither the use of torture or secret detention centres are new in Chechnya,” said Heather McGill of Amnesty International.
“It’s imperative that those at risk in Chechnya are able to access effective asylum procedures in other countries. So far only a handful of countries have offered asylum to gay men fleeing human rights violations in Chechnya.”