Chechnya's LGBT Muslim Refugees Struggle To Cope In Exile

From WBUR:
Abdul Kadr's wife found out he was gay the night his relatives came to kill him.

She hid him inside the home in Grozny, Chechnya, where they lived with their four young children, and told him she'd stand by him.

"She saved my life," says Abdul Kadr, a silver-haired former businessman in his 40s.

Being married to a woman was how he hid his eight-year relationship with another man, also a married father. It was a way to survive in Chechnya, a largely Muslim southwestern republic of Russia where gay men are reportedly sent to torture camps and even killed.

Abdul Kadr is not his real name. He chose it for himself as protection from what he calls "the long arm of the Chechen secret police," which he fears will reach him even in the Netherlands, where he sought asylum early last year. A recent Human Rights Watch report suggests Chechen authorities are able to track down gay Chechens seeking asylum in Europe.

The Netherlands is one of a handful of countries in Europe offering protection to gay Chechens.

I meet Abdul Kadr outside the Amsterdam train station. He's with Artur, another Chechen who has also chosen a new name out of fear for his safety.

Artur says the Chechen secret police force gay men into outing their friends.

"The police electrocuted my friends, beat them, denied them food and water," says Artur, a mop-haired, 25-year-old former student with bright blue eyes.

The suspected gay detainees "slept on the ground, on concrete, while the drug dealers and terrorists slept in beds," he says. [...]

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