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Armenian Court Rejects Russia's Extradition Request for Tortured LGBTQ+ Refugee

Armenian Court Rejects Russia's Extradition Request for Tortured LGBTQ+ Refugee

BREAKING NEWS: An Armenian court has refused Russia's request to extradite Salman Mukaev, a man who fled Chechnya after enduring torture due to suspicions of being gay. The ruling emphasized concerns over the safety of LGBTQ+ individuals in Chechnya and potential violations of their rights in Russia.

Mukaev faced persecution in his native Chechnya in 2020, enduring interrogation and torture by security services. Under duress, he confessed to a romantic relationship with a male friend and agreed to cooperate with authorities by luring gay men online for subsequent police reporting.

Following his release from detention, Mukaev sought refuge in Armenia, only to face legal challenges. Russian authorities opened a criminal case against him, leading to a warrant for his arrest, preventing him from leaving the country.

The Armenian court's decision highlighted the precarious situation for LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya and expressed concerns about potential rights violations in Russia, citing homophobic laws. The court also took note of Russia's Supreme Court classifying the "international LGBT public movement" as an outlawed "extremist" organization.

LGBTQ+ rights group SK SOS, which aids LGBTQ+ individuals in Russia's North Caucasus, reported that the court ruling denounced official processes that indirectly encourage violence and persecution against the LGBT community. The court not only rejected Russia's extradition request but also granted Mukaev asylum and refugee status in Armenia.

This decision sets a significant precedent, sending a clear message about the importance of protecting the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ individuals, not only within Armenia but across regions where they may face persecution.


Chechnya, one of Russia's majority-Muslim regions, has been marred by a disturbing history of intolerance and injustice, particularly targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Ruled by Ramzan Kadyrov since 2009, the region has witnessed brutal crackdowns on those perceived as a threat to the regime.

Kadyrov, ‘re-elected’ in 2021 with an alleged 99.7 percent share of the vote, has not only targeted political opponents and human rights defenders but has reserved a special level of hatred for LGBTQ+ individuals. Abduction, torture, and murder have become chillingly routine for this vulnerable community.

In a 2018 interview with the BBC, Kadyrov openly denounced defenders of human rights and those advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, labeling them as "foreign agents" who betrayed their country, people, and religion. The authorities in Chechnya have shown little effort to mask their hostility, leading to numerous anti-gay pogroms.


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