In response to reports published by Novaya Gazeta that a survivor of the anti-LGBT crackdown in Chechnya, Zelimkhan Akhmadov, was abducted in St. Petersburg by police as well as by family members, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The persecution of the Chechen LGBT community is tragically far from over,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “Like many others, Zelimkhan fled Chechnya after being repeatedly detained and beaten by local authorities because of his perceived sexual orientation. As part of a wave of arrests in Chechnya in April 2017, hundreds of men suspected of being gay were detained. At least 120 were forced to flee and remain in hiding, fearing for their lives. Given the lack of a credible investigation by the Russian authorities, Freedom House echoes the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) resolution of June 27, urging the international community to press for an independent investigation into these atrocities committed by the Chechen authorities.”

Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2018, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017, and receives a democracy score of 6.61 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2018.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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