Maksim Lapunov: "I was beaten because I was believed to be gay"

posted 26 Oct 2017, 02:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Oct 2017, 02:43 ]

17 October 2017                    By Zoya Svetova                    Source:                         Pictured below: Maksim Lapunov

At a Novaya Gazeta press conference, 30-year-old Maksim Lapunov recounted how he was tortured in Chechnya by people who believed he was gay. 

"[...] The main charge brought against me was that I am gay," Maksim says. "For some time the commanding officer would question me, trying by peaceful means to get information out of me about some well-known people in Grozny who are linked to homosexuality. I denied everything, naturally, as anyone would do. Then he gave the command to have me taken away and a testimony beaten out of me.

"[...] I was taken to a different room where, under the threat of torture by electric shock and with sticks, I was forced to testify against someone. Then this person was brought in, and he and I were brought to the basement. There, we were taken to different rooms. They put my face to the wall. They began beating him. They beat him for a fairly long time, with breaks for him to recover his breath. After they beat him, I was taken into the room. A quarter of this room, about two by two meters, was covered in blood. And though it was fairly fresh, it had already managed to sink into the floorboards.

"[...] Every 10 or 15 minutes or so while I was being beaten, all these people would run into the room and shout that I was gay and that people like me need to be killed. Because of their words, because of their actions, I assumed that they'd kill me in time anyway. It was very aggressive and cruel.

"Five or six hours or so after I was detained, the guard on duty at that time just burst into my room and, with unbelievable humiliations and insults, began preparing me to be killed. They began beating me with sticks. I don't know how long this went on for, but it was a very long time. They put my face to the wall and beat my legs, thighs, buttocks, and back. Whenever I began to fall, they would let me recover my breath and force me to stand, and then everything would begin again.

"[...] They forced us to fight. They did everything possible to humiliate us, offend us, and boost their own egos. This went on for quite a long time while I was there. I heard a lot of accusations that I'm gay. Day after day they would explain to me what methods they would use to kill me and how it would happen.

"[...] For twelve days I slept in the basement, literally on a piece of cardboard on the floor. Beneath the cardboard there was a giant puddle of blood. They beat my arms and my legs; I could hardly even crawl. To this day I still have health problems.

"[...] They forced me using threats to put my fingerprints on a weapon — perhaps they are going to start some sort of fake criminal case against me. They also recorded a video about how I, so-and-so, am detained for such-and-such a reason, and I'm gay, and that was the whole emphasis of it. All of the insults and humiliation were built around this.

"[...] During the 12 days that I spent in this prison, there were approximately 30 different people in the basement. Every evening, every night, new accused people were brought in. There were cries, moans, please for mercy. Many Chechens who were brought in were very cruelly beaten; they were beaten for several days in a row, confessions were beaten out of them. [...]"

Maksim was freed only because there were many witnesses to his detention. His relatives immediately issued a missing person alert, and a criminal case was opened in Perm, his home region, regarding his disappearance.

Read more about what became of Maksim Lapunov here