Russian Investigators Determined Two Men Were Shot In The Head At Chechen 'Prison For Gays'

According to documents from Russia's Investigative Committee obtained by the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper, two Chechen men who were killed in 2017 in a Chechen "prison for gays" were shot in the head at close range.

On December 24, the newspaper published a report saying that Shoto-Shamil Akayev and Ayub Ibragimov were shot on March 30, 2017, a few weeks after they went missing on February 6.

Chechen officials have said the two men were shot while trying to escape.

The Novaya Gazeta report cites documents from the Russian Investigative Committee's investigation into a complaint by Maksim Lapunov, who alleges he was abducted in Chechnya in October 2017 and held in a basement because he was homosexual. He said he was beaten in an effort to force him to name Chechens with whom he had sexual relations.

Lapunov's testimony reveals that "dozens" of other people were held in the same "prison for gays" when he was there. He said that he saw both Akayev and Ibragimov there.

The Investigative Committee's report concludes that the two men were killed but no criminal investigation was opened because "the circumstances laid out in Lapunov's complaint about his illegal detention were not objectively confirmed.

On December 20, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe heard a report about human rights violations of human rights between January 1, 2017, and January 31, 2018.

A large part of the report was devoted to the republic's campaign against gays, which reached a peak in February-March 2017. The report upbraids the Russian government for failing to investigate the reports or hold anyone accountable.

With reporting by Novaya Gazeta