Rizvan Dadaev from Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, was detained by the police in July of 2022 due to his sexual orientation. He managed to leave Russia with the help of the NC SOS team. Back in 2022, a video roamed on social media showing unknown people interrogating Rizvan, asking him questions about his personal life. Shortly after, Rizvan disappeared.
Six months later Rizvan’s friend turned to NC SOS Crisis Group asking for help. We managed to find Rizvan and discovered that he had spent several months in custody in a basement of a local police station. He stayed there from late July to mid-November 2022.
According to the police, he was released through the efforts of human rights defenders. Meanwhile, Rizvan’s family explained his release as the result of the intervention of an influential person, approved by the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov. At a high risk of being arrested and tortured again, Rizvan had to flee Russia. And after a long and challenging evacuation, he is now in a safe country.
It turned out that the infamous video with Rizvan’s interrogation was recorded not by the police but ordinary blackmailers. It was four men aged 23 to 25 who ambushed Dadaev on a date, forced him to confess on camera that he was gay, and then demanded the equivalent of 500 USD or an iPhone 13 for their silence.
Both Rizvan and the blackmailers were arrested a week after the incident. According to Rizvan, the criminals were tortured: beaten with polypropylene pipes and shocked with a stun gun, and later charged with illegal drug possession.
Rizvan himself was beaten by the chief of the police station. He ordered Rizvan to lay down on the floor and beat him up until the young man blacked out. Rizvan identified his torturer as Deni Aidamirov, a relative of Ramzan Kadyrov. In November 2023, Aidamirov was appointed as the first deputy minister of internal affairs of Chechnya.
Rizvan spent more than three months in the basement of the police station. According to his testimony, there were always about 90 people in that basement, tortured and beat up. The detainees were offered release in exchange for some “work”. Rizvan assumes that they were recruited into the Russian Armed Forces and sent to war in Ukraine.
In 2017, Rizvan had already been detained and tortured by the police. At that time, state persecutions of gay people had just begun in Chechnya. Rizvan became one of the numerous victims arrested and tortured by the police for their sexual identity. The reason for the detention could be his indirect acquaintance with Maxim Lapunov, the first person who publicly spoke about what was happening in Chechnya. Rizvan was sitting in the cell next to Lapunov’s one.