Gay man tortured during 2017 crackdown in Chechnya reveals his identity

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Amin Dzhabrailov celebrating WorldPride in NYC June 30 (Photo by CNW Group/Rainbow Railroad)

Amin Dzhabrailov celebrating WorldPride in NYC June 30 (Photo by CNW Group/Rainbow Railroad)

TORONTOJuly 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ – In 2017, Amin Dzhabrailov was being held in a torture facility somewhere in Chechnya, unsure if he would ever make it out alive.

Now, after escaping with the help of Rainbow Railroad, Dzhabrailov has bravely gone public with his story, in a Timearticle entitled “A Victim of the Anti-Gay Purge in Chechnya Speaks Out: ‘The Truth Exists.'”

Very few of those who survived the 2017 crackdown against gay men in Chechnya have dared speak out with their name and face attached. Many live in fear that, even safe in a new country, Chechen authorities will hunt them down.

“I hope this helps save lives,” Dzhabrailov, who now lives in Toronto, says about speaking to Time. “There are so many people in Chechnya still so scared to talk about what happened to them. Scared that it may happen again. We must demand justice for them.”

Since news of the atrocities in Chechnya first broke in 2017, Rainbow Railroad has worked closely with the Russian LGBT Network to help more than 70 individuals escape to safety in Canada and Western Europe.

As Dzhabrailov explains in Time, Chechen officials encouraged families to murder their LGBTQI relatives, who they deemed to be a “shame” on them and their country.

Rainbow Railroad executive director Kimahli Powell says he is in awe of Dzhabrailov’s bravery in going public. Dzhabrailov first told his story to 60 Minutes earlier this year, under a pseudonym and with his face hidden.

“Amin’s story is a powerful reminder of the work Rainbow Railroad does every day,” Powell says. “We get requests for help from all around the world, from the numerous countries with laws criminalizing same-sex intimacy, and many where people still face the death penalty. Our work is urgent, and the need keeps increasing.”

About Rainbow Railroad:

In countries all over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and trans (LGBTQI) people live in fear for their freedom, their safety, and their lives. In 68 countries, LGBTQI people face anti-homosexuality laws, and in 11 countries, the death penalty can be imposed. In these countries, LGBTQI people are routinely arrested, brutally attacked, or murdered. They often have nowhere to turn because their governments, media, police, religious institutions, and even families not only tolerate, but encourage this brutality. In the spirit of, and with homage to, the Underground Railroad, Rainbow Railroad answers the call when LGBTQI people seek safe haven from state-enabled persecution. Through funds collected by our global community, Rainbow Railroad is able to support, provide information, and arrange safe transportation for LGBTQI people who are desperate to flee. Since our founding in 2006, the organization has helped 600 people travel to safety. Visit our website for more information about our work.

Press release from Rainbow Railroad

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