Sasha, a gay Chechen man who managed to escape after 11 days inside one of Chechnya’s three gay concentration camps shared with Israeli National News details of the atrocities being committed under the international community’s nose.
Sasha, a survivor of a Chechen concentration camp for gay men, revealed to Channel 2 News what is happening a few hours away from Israel: electrocutions, beatings and humiliation. He was imprisoned in the camp for 11 days before he managed to escape to a hiding place in Moscow from which he shares details of what he calls “a second Holocaust” for gay men.
Sasha described being randomly kidnapped and taken to and locked in a basement with the rest of the brutally beaten and tortured prisoners, many awaiting their execution. Sasha told Channel 2 News he managed to escape because of his personal acquaintance with one of the soldiers in the camp who helped him.
“They torture people with electric shocks, staple clips onto people’s heads or arms and give them electric shocks. They beat people up and humiliate them mentally. I saw two men die out of the soldiers’ beatings. To sum it in words, it’s a second Holocaust.
“I was certain I was going to die. I was ready for the idea that there’s only one way out of there – that I will be executed. This is why I didn’t have hopes that they’ll let me go or that I would be able to escape.
“They caught me at a barrier in the middle of the city. They took me out of my car. Someone informed on me. Imagine yourself in my shoes – they stop you, take you out with no explanation, put you in the back seat of a car and shove your head between your legs, and drive you with military people, you have no idea where, and you don’t know what’s going to happen to you. The thought that ran through my mind is these are the last moments of my life.”
“They brought me into a back yard of some governmental building, where they took my cloths off. They held us in a wet basement made of concrete with a big heavy door. It was a big place. The only food you eat is the food from the trash after the soldiers finish their meals, and they watch you humiliate yourself, looking for food in the trash. At first they tortured us to get information, but then they beat us up with no reason, for their enjoyment, just because they don’t consider us human beings.
“The soldiers were switching and so one time there was a group of soldiers with one man who I knew very well and he knows me too. I owe my life to him now.
“I’m terrified for my life. This interview is very dangerous to me, but I’m sure that the people of Israel will not remain silent if they hear what’s happening there. For us it’s a genocide.”
The Aguda, Israel’s National LGBT Task Force, is leading what they hope to become an international event – demonstrating in front of Russia’s embassies this Friday, against the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya. If you initiate or take part in an event in your country or city, please let us know on Facebook.
Chen Ariely, chair of the Aguda, the Israeli LGBT Task Force, who was interviewed in the news segment, said: “The Aguda in Israel calls the Israeli government and to the governments around the world to join this fight to stop the horrors that take place there in Chechnya. We have a moral responsibility, especially in Israel, to end this phenomenon.”