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LGBTQ community faces brutal torture by Russian military in occupied territories

Russians tortured LGBTQ people in Kherson Oblast
Russians tortured LGBTQ people in Kherson Oblast

Ukrainian law enforcement officials have documented a series of human rights abuses committed by Russian military personnel against LGBTQ individuals in the occupied right-bank area of Kherson Oblast, according to a recent report by the Ukrainian NGO Projector, released on March 27.

Projector, in collaboration with the charity Insha and supported by Outright International, conducted a comprehensive investigation into the violations of LGBTQ rights, gender-based offenses, and war crimes targeting LGBTQ people in Ukrainian territories that have been under occupation.

The report indicates that individuals were targeted for their sexual orientation and gender identity, leading to acts of torture and sexual violence. Throughout the investigation, Projector's legal team interviewed 51 LGBTQ community members and prepared 18 detailed survey reports, highlighting eight personal accounts of torture.

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"Among the committed crimes described in the written statements there were tortures, imprisonments, sexual violence, and severe deprivation of physical freedom, constituting violations of the basic norms of international law," the report said.

One such case is that of 22-year-old civilian Oleksii, who stayed in Kherson during its occupation. Russian soldiers at a checkpoint scrutinized his phone, uncovering LGBTQ-related content, and subsequently detained and brutally assaulted him for having patriotic Ukrainian tattoos. While imprisoned, he was forced to wear a red dress during interrogations by the Russian FSB.

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The report also sheds light on the broader treatment of detainees, including physical abuse, electrocution, forced ingestion of the Ukrainian flag, minimal sustenance, and restricted access to hygiene, with shower privileges granted arbitrarily. Some detainees were coerced into performing sexual acts in exchange for basic necessities.

In addition to Oleksii's story, the report describes the horrific experiences of several other LGBTQ community members, as well as the crimes Russians committed against the organization Insha.

There are accounts of severe sexual abuse, including rape, with one individual reportedly committing suicide following the ordeal.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine