Chechnya torturers force naked 19-year-old to rape himself with glass bottle

Chechen authorities abducted a 19-year-old activist and forced him to rape himself with a glass bottle, Novaya Gazeta claims.

The publication was instrumental in exposing the Russian satellite state’s persecution of LGBT+ people. Now it claims to have precise information about when, where and how the authorities abducted Salman Tepsurkaev.

Video emerged online on 7 September of a completely naked Chechen youth sitting on his knees with a glass bottle in front of him.

On the video, the young man says his name is Salman Tepsurkaev, he is 19 years old, and he is one of the administrators of Adat. 

Adat or 1ADAT is a channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, favored by many activists. 

Adat routinely features dissident voices, including those criticising Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Russia’s support for human rights abuses in Chechnya.

A participant on the Telegram channel, using the name ‘Okhotnik’, published the video.

In the video, the youth tries to explain what Adat is, although he seems confused. He calls it a ‘dirty group’ and says ‘they do shameful things’.

At the end, the teen says he will ‘punish myself’ for behavior a Chechen shouldn’t have done. And he calls on ‘other administrators’ of Adat to do the same.

His face then contorts in pain as he tries to sit on the bottle before the recording ends.

In a second video, which appeared the day after the first, Tepsurkayev says that his torturers threatened him. He says he had to sit naked on the bottle or they would shoot him in the forehead.

Geolocation puts teen at police base

Now Novaya Gazeta says Tepsurkaev was working outside Chechnya when his abductors grabbed him on 5 September.

They moved him to Chechnya. The publication says his phone’s geolocation data place him at the base of military police force SOBR in Chechnya’s capital Grozny.

Moreover, rumors indicate Tepsurkayev may have ‘told the wrong person’ about his involvement with Adat, sparking his abduction.

The brutal ‘punishment’ was deliberately humiliating and reflects the Chechen authorities attitudes towards anal penetration.

Human Rights Watch reports Tepsurkayev is still missing. In a statement it adds:

‘Even by the Chechen government’s despicable standards, the recent video of Tepsurkayev is particularly violent.

‘Despite repeated appeals, the Russian government has done nothing to rein in Chechnya’s leadership.

‘The Tepsurkayev video is further evidence that the Kremlin’s complicity is fueling impunity and giving Chechen authorities the green light to resort to unthinkable brutality to instill terror and eliminate all forms of dissent.’

New voice to oppose Kadyrov regime

Adat has emerged this year as a leading voice for those criticizing Chechnya’s brutal regime.

The channel is often the first to report on the authorities abducting Chechens. The administrators claim several dozen people ‘disappeared’ in this way over this summer alone. Meanwhile they hope the publicity they generate will save lives as well as expose the regime.

Indeed, the video appears to have backfired on the Kadyrov regime. 

It generated shock in Chechyna and beyond and Adat saw its audience and subscribers grow. Moreover, administrators told Novaya Gazeta (translated):

‘This video with Salman caused such a shock that many wanted to openly, without hiding their faces, express what they think about the authorities and Kadyrov.’

Meanwhile the Chechen authorities will likely continue to try to entrap other Adat members. Administrators are aware that informers are on the channel. But they use various security protocols to avoid being caught.

Some believe Tepsurkayev merely said too much about his involvement and trusted the wrong person.

Chechnya and its brutal LGBT+ purge

The attack on Tepsurkayev shows the same tactics that Chechen authorities used against LGBT+ people. In the last few years, they have carried out a series of purges. An unknown number of LGBT+ Chechens were kidnapped, held in concentration camps and tortured.

Russian President Vladimir Putin installed Kadyrov as leader of the Chechen Republic in 2007. The region is a subject of the Russian Federation.

Under his leadership, Chechnya has become one of the most dangerous places in the world to be LGBT+.

He tends to rule the country with traditional Islamic social codes, even if these contravene Russian law. Meanwhile Putin has failed to stop him abusing human rights.

The news of a gay purge in Chechnya first broke in 2017.

Investigations revealed Chechen authorities had opened six ‘concentration camps’ across the country for gay men. They rounded up around 100 men in the first wave.

The atrocities included torturers strapping a man to a homemade electric chair and beating him with a hose. Guards beat prisoners to get them to reveal the names of other LGBT+ people.

It later became clear that the police were encouraging families to carry out ‘honor killings’ of LGBT+ members.

Authorities rounded up another group of men in a further wave of the purge in late 2018.

The Russian LGBT+ Network raised the alarm early in 2019. It prompted people around the world, including GSN readers, to raise money to evacuate LGBT+ people from the country.


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