“I'm afraid for my life and most importantly I'm afraid for the lives of my family back home. “
This Chechen man didn't want his name or voice used. He arrived in Canada two months ago but he's still so scared he'll be recognized even these clothes aren't his own. Human Rights Watch released video last year of what it said was happening to gay men in Chechnya. Dragged, beaten, tortured.
Since then the group says the situation got even worse. He says in his case police grabbed him when he was at work, threw him in the trunk of a car, and took him to a secret Jail, interrogating him for three weeks. The torture was various - you're beaten, sometimes kicked, sometimes objects are used. But eventually the last resort is always electroshock.
“Just experiencing the electroshock once is enough to realize that you don't want anyone else to go through this.”
Officers demanded the names of other gay people and that he lied and gave fake names
Human rights groups say this was part of a state sanctioned operation in Chechnya. At the same time top Chechen officials deny there are any gay people there. The Canadian government worked with human rights groups to bring men to safety. So far 31 have been accepted as refugees here 22 have already arrived. The Prime Minister was asked yesterday about the secret operation.
“Canada will always stand up for rights and protect vulnerable peoples around the world.”
Rainbow Railroad was one of the groups that helped bring the men here.
“There are still reports of individuals being captured and tortured by authorities and so we expect even more individuals to try to find a haven.”
The young man we met has this message to others who haven't arrived yet: