An outspoken gay refugee from Chechnya has appeared on state television to apologise for being a “disgrace” to the republic.
Earlier this year, Movsar Eskerkhanov publicly criticised Chechen authorities when they detained and abused gay and bisexual men in modern-day concentration camps.
He was forced to flee his home and seek asylum in Germany.
However, when he arrived at a refugee camp, other Chechens recognised him and attacked him. Germany then refused asylum and Eskerkhanov disappeared for several months.
The gay refugee has now surfaced, but on Grozny State Television who have branded him a “mentally ill person”.
The television program claims that Eskerkhanov “cooked up” the story, and added that the media “sensationalised” it further.
“For whom was it beneficial to show him in a bad light, denigrating his honor and the honor of the entire Chechen people?” the show asked.
During his appearance, Eskerkhanov said that he had “disgraced” Chechnya and its citizens, and that journalists had “set him up”.
“Therefore, I apologise to the residents of Chechnya, the leadership of Chechnya, the Chechens living in the North Caucasus and Europe,” he added.
It comes after Human Rights campaigners called for information on gay singer Zelimkhan Bakaev, who went missing in Chechnya back in August.
Last month, a chilling report claimed he had been murdered by authorities in Chechnya as part of their crackdown on LGBT+ people.
“He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” an insider claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”
Chechen officials have denied any involvement of the disappearance of Bakaev, and have suggested that he has simply just left the country.
The Kremlin and Chechen government have both repeatedly denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured.
That’s despite Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, having publicly declared that he wanted all LGBT+ people in the country to be eliminated by May 26, which marked the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.
Following increased international pressure, Russia was forced to investigate Chechnya and this reported ongoing abuse, but as of yet the republic has received no consequences for the treatment of its LGBT+ citizens.
Last month, it was reported that Canada have given asylum to 22 gay refugees in Chechnya over the past three months, helping them to escape the anti-gay purge that took place in the Russian republic.