A Chechen man is facing extradition from Armenia to Russia, after allegedly being tortured in Chechnya in 2020, on suspicion of homosexuality.
A court session on Salman Mukayev’s extradition to Russia will be held at Yerevan’s Administrative Court of Appeal on 25 May, reports the NC SOS Crisis Group, a queer rights group based in the North Caucasus.
The group wrote on Telegram that Mukayev would be in ‘mortal danger’ in Russia, where authorities wanted to ‘punish him for escaping and refusing to cooperate’.
The group claimed that Mukayev was previously detained in Chechnya in 2020, on suspicion of homosexuality, and was tortured by the security forces who attempted to obtain his confession that he had had a sexual relationship with his friend.
NC SOS reports that he was ‘beaten, bound with duct tape, strangled with a bag, and tortured with bare wires attached to his little finger’, after which Mukayev was forced to state that he had had a sexual relationship with his friend and sign blank sheets of paper.
He was then allegedly tasked with contacting homosexual men online and inviting them to an apartment monitored by the security services. Mukayev refused to do so, and left Chechnya.
According to Novaya Gazeta, a criminal case was opened against him two weeks later, on charges of illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or carrying of weapons and ammunition.
Armenia considered granting political asylum to Mukayev in 2021, reports RFE/RL, with European nations allegedly also being ready to do so. However, Mukayev’s being on the Russian federal wanted list has reportedly obstructed his departure from Armenia.
Mukayev’s lawyer told RFE/RL that they are ready to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if the decision is made to extradite Mukayev.
Crisis Group North Caucasus SOS has called on people in Armenia to come to the courthouse to support Mukayev.