In Chechnya, a country where homophobia is widespread and encouraged, gay men face a host of brutal punishments and persecution. Following an attempt by activists to hold a pride parade in April, at least 100 gay men were rounded up and arrested. Several of those detained allege they were tortured, leading to an international outcry and prompting Russia to open an investigation into the claims.
Much of the alleged abuse took place at a notorious detention center in Argun, just north of the capital Grozny. VICE News obtained exclusive access to the now-abandoned buildings where the local prison warden and his officers reportedly beat and tortured men they suspected of being gay. Human Rights Watch has confirmed that this site is at the center of their investigation into homophobic abuse in Chechnya.
The center is now abandoned and falling into disrepair. The first building had no doors – they'd all been ripped out. Wires hung from the ceiling, and shattered glass littered the floor, mixed with large pieces of wood and debris. Hundreds of footprints covered the corridor floors, despite repeated denials that the buildings had been in recent use.
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