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Chechnya protests
via Twitter (Dave Frenkel)

40 gay men saved from Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’

The Russian LGBT Network has helped evacuate at least 40 people, saving their lives

At least four have reportedly died so far in Chechnya’s “gay purge”. Most recently, a teenage boy was pushed off of a 9th floor balcony to his death by his own uncle. Now, Russian LGBT Network has stepped in to evacuate gay people from the Russian Republic. So far, NPR reports, at least 40 men have been safely evacuated.

Speaking to NPR, the communications manager of the Russian LGBT Network – who remained anonymous for obvious reasons – said that a hotline has been set up that LGBT people can call in to in order to seek help. “Well, the first thing for us to do is, of course, to evacuate them from Chechnya, like, to other parts of Russia,” the woman said in the interview. “But we are also working to evacuate them, to relocate them to – out of Russia because for most of them it’s just deadly dangerous to stay in Russia because some of them are already hunted by their relatives outside of Chechnya.”

The woman also relayed what some of the men they have saved revealed about the abhorrent conditions of the concentration camps that have been set up for LGBT people. “They're telling us that they are beaten. Sometimes some people are beaten to death. And also people are saying that they’re tortured with electric current, they are not fed properly and they don’t have any water.”

She confirmed that even after leaving Chechnya, gay people are being hunted down by relatives who have been encouraged to remove “the stain” from their families by authorities. While it remains unclear exactly how this tragic situation will transpire – Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov has said he wants to eliminate all gay people by the start of Ramadan, May 26 – the Russian LGBT Network is stepping in to prevent as best they can. You can donate to the organization here.