Fears for LGBT woman after her abduction by police in raid on refuge in Dagestan

Khalimat Taramova’s family is said to be close to Chechnya’s tyrannical president

<p>Khalimat Taramova is the daughter a close associate of Chechnya’s tyrannical leader Ramzan Kadyrov</p>

Khalimat Taramova is the daughter a close associate of Chechnya’s tyrannical leader Ramzan Kadyrov

Security forces from the Russian region of Chechnya have reportedly abducted an LGBT woman following a Thursday evening raid on a women’s shelter in neighbouring Dagestan.

Khalimat Taramova fled Chechnya to the safe house in Makhachkala following death threats from her family. As the daughter of Ayub Taramov, a close associate of Chechnya’s tyrannical leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Ms Taramova’s sexual identity meant she had reason to fear for her life.

In messages to a crisis hotline on 28 May, shared with The Independent, Ms Taramova said she was "in danger and very nervous". People like her were being murdered, she said.

Several days before armed police forced their way into the shelter, the Chechen’s name was added to a missing person’s database. In a video released on social media, she rejected that claim, saying she had left Chechnya voluntarily in order to escape assault.

Details of the raid were first reported by Svetlana Anokhina, a local journalist and activist who was present at the shelter when police arrived. In voice messages, the obviously distressed journalist said the women were tricked into opening the door to an officer inquiring about their safety.

"They dragged us down the stairs, and put us in a police car," Ms Anokhina said. Another group of officers, apparently from Chechnya, headed upstairs to the flat: "The other girls were still there, without protection."

A statement by the Russian LGBT Network, which has been instrumental in organising the evacuation of at-risk Chechens,  said Ms Taramova and her partner were driven in another direction, over the mountains towards Chechnya. Her partner Anna, who is from central Russia, was released along the way.

Ms Taramova’s exact location is unknown.

Ms Anokhina, another two activists, and three women, were meanwhile transferred to a police station. They remain in police custody.

Katerina Neroznikova, a volunteer working at the women’s shelter, said it was likely that Ms Anokhina and another volunteer would be charged for supposedly impeding police work. Both volunteers were manhandled out of the shelter as they attempted to protect the women residents.

Lawyer Patimat Nuradinova later told The Independent the authorities had charged four women with violations of administrative law.

Ms Anokhina is one of the most prominent feminist activists working in the north Caucausus, helping vulnerable women and LGBT+ individuals escape abuse.

Like many others in the region, her work has put her in direct conflict with growing religious conservative sentiment, largely unchecked by federal law enforcement. Last year, she was forced to leave Dagestan temporarily after receiving death threats.

While LGBT and female rights are an issue across Russia, the north Caucasus presents particular dangers for sexual minorities. Beginning in 2017, scores of gay men began disappearing from Chechnya in what appeared to be a purge directed by the republic’s leader Kadyrov.

The Russian LGBT network say they helped evacuate over 200 people, but many more were unable to escape torture – and worse.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in