In what has become a common refrain from Russia, vigilantes have reportedly kidnapped another young gay man, tortured him at gun point, and this time raped him with a bottle and then shoved it in further with a baseball bat, purportedly to cure him of being gay.
The crime apparently happened two days ago, and was reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has interviewed a man who claims to have committed the crime.
These anti-gay vigilante groups have been running free in Russia, nationwide, for months now, with little to no interesting from the Russian authorities. It was only after significantly international news coverage of several of the most recent kidnap/tortures of young gay men that the Russian police claimed to be investigating.
RFE/RL has more of the sickening details:
The series of short clips, making the rounds on the mobile phone application WhatsApp show the victim, who seems to be an ethnic Uzbek, being bullied into confessing that he is gay.
He is asked to identify himself and is stripped of his clothes, which are later burned. He is then handcuffed, beaten, insulted, and threatened with a gun. Ultimately, he is forced to sodomize himself by sitting on a bottle, which is then pushed with a bat.
The man, visibly terrified, weeps throughout much of the ordeal.
The Russians were seeking a prison term of 3 whopping months for the kidnappers, who they have yet to even find even though they have them on film, up close, in good quality. In contrast, you get 5 years in Russia for shooting a cat.
And of course, we’ve heard nothing of this supposedly Russian government effort to finally investigate, and now it’s happened again.
And keep in mind, as mentioned above, that it took RFE/RL only 24 hours to find the perpetrator. The Russian government, however, can’t be bothered.
This time the torture and rape was of a young Uzbek man, or boy (the age is unclear). Typically the vigilantes film the entire kidnapping and attack – which often includes forcing the victim to drink urine – and then post the video on Russian social media. They also attack transgender Russians as well.
In spite of the fact that the videos always contain the faces of the attackers, and usually the home towns are indicated by the local scenery, the Russian authorities do next to nothing.
RFE/RL interviewed a man who claims to be one of the assailants:
“We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason,” he told RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service. “We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks. We live and work here, we are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise.”
According to the purported assailant, the attack took place on September 11 in Novosibirsk, where he himself is a student, and all the participants were ethnic Uzbeks.
He says the man was first detained by a group of Russian antigay vigilantes who lured him to a fake date through a social-networking website.
The vigilantes then allegedly handed him to the city’s Uzbek community.
“Russian guys caught him and called us to say they had a gay Uzbek,” the self-proclaimed author of the video said. “We then questioned him and he confessed to everything. There were six or seven of us. The Russians told us he was a pedophile, which he denied. But he confessed that he was gay.”
Interestingly, former Olympian figure skater Johnny Weir appeared to claim the other night on Keith Olbermann’s show that the situation in Russia for gay and trans people is similar to the situation he faces in New Jersey. No word on whether Weir recently been raped with a beer bottle, while the New Jersey police refused to investigate. We’re guessing not so much.
The latest kidnapping, torture, rape of yet another young gay men will only fuel concerns about the safety of those attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and really anyone interested in visiting that country. It’s bad enough that the Russian government has repeatedly threatened to jail Olympic athletes, guests and media under the country’s draconian anti-gay “propaganda” law. But now Sochi attendees need to worry about their very lives as well.
Clearly Russia has yet to enter the 21st century, not only in terms of its respect for basic human rights, but also its respect for the basic rule of law. The notion that a series of young men can be kidnapped, tortured and now raped – and that the crime is now apparently part of a loosely-connected nationwide criminal enterprise – and the Russian authorities find the entire RICO-style operation to be so insignificant as to ignore it, because the victims are gay, is simply barbaric.
Russian journalist Masha Gessen said as much recently, when she urged people in America, and other countries, to help Russia’s LGBT community “get us the hell out” of the country.
People can haggle about whether they support a boycott of the Olympics or not, but one thing is now clear: Russia is simply not a safe country. Businesspeople and tourist alike, beware. (H/t to John Becker for tipping me off to this story.)