Another Young LGBTQ Person Has Been Kidnapped and Forced to Return to Chechnya
A shelter in Makhachkala, Russia, for domestic survivors was raided on the evening of June 10 and resulted in the kidnapping of a young LGBTQ woman. Khalimat Taramova, originally from the Chechen Republic capital of Grozny, had fled Chechnya to this safe house in fear for her life. A victim of constant persecution, abuse and beatings at the hands of her own family members as a result of her sexual orientation, she had reached out to the Russian LGBT Network for assistance at the end of May.
Taramova is in a unique position, as her father, Ayub Taramov, is the former head of Chechnya’s municipal administration and the former deputy minister of the Chechen Housing and Public Utilities department. Her father is also said to be close to the current head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Although Taramova recorded a video on June 6 regarding her voluntary decision to leave Grozny, she was still reported missing — which led to Russian policemen raiding the shelter.
Not only is Chechnya infamous for its lack of LGBTQ+ rights, but queer people are actively targeted, harassed and killed in the region. Read more about the history of Chechnya’s “gay purge” here.
Though the policemen arrived at the shelter under false pretenses and claimed they were only ensuring Taramova’s well-being, shortly after they left, numerous Chechen enforcers reportedly raided the safe house.
Khalimat Taramova — along with Anna Manylova, who initially helped her escape Grozny — was brought to the central office of the Department of Internal Affairs. During the raid, the other occupants of the shelter were dragged outside by use of excessive force and taken to the local police department. Taramova and Manylova were eventually separated, and Taramova was put into a car.
A similar incident happened earlier this year with two young men. In February 2021, Salekh Magamadov, 20, and Ismail Isayev, 17 — who had fled Chechnya in July 2020 — were abducted from a safehouse and returned to Chechnya by Russian police. In March, the Russian LGBT Network reported that Chechen police were pressuring the two men’s relatives to murder them in an “honor killing.” The two men’s family members were being summoned by the police nearly every day for “conversations,” during which they were encouraged to murder the young men.
On June 13, the Russian LGBT Network filed a report with the Chechen Republic Investigation Committee, asking to look into this kidnapping. However, in an interview airing the next day, Khalimat Taramova (surrounded by four men, including her father) stated that her rights were not violated, and that she did not remember how she came to the shelter. Coerced videotaped “confessions” of LGBTQ people who escaped Chechnya but were later forced to return have become commonplace, a regular tool of Chechnya’s current administration to assist its denial that a “gay purge” is taking place.
According to The Moscow Times, “Chechens who lose favor with the Russian republic’s authorities regularly appear on television to give what human rights activists say are ‘forced’ apologies.”
In a statement released by the Russian LGBT Network, the organization says Khalimat Taramova’s “future and her very life is the cause for gravest concern in the present moment.”
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