KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Brunei must rowback on plans to implement changes to its penal code next month that could see LGBT+ people whipped or stoned to death for same-sex activity, human rights groups said on Monday.
Brunei was the first East Asian country to introduce Islamic criminal law in 2014 when it announced the first of three stages of legal changes that included fines or jail for offences like pregnancy outside marriage or failing to pray on Friday.
Previously homosexuality was illegal in Brunei and punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, but the changes would allow whipping and stoning to death for Muslims found guilty of adultery, sodomy and rape, said human rights groups.
The country delayed implementing the final two stages of changes after an international backlash in 2014 but now plans to go ahead with both on April 3, said Matthew Woolfe, founder of human rights group The Brunei Project.
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus, a Manila-based human rights group, confirmed the implementation of the remaining changes were due to take place on April 3, citing government documents.
Manila-based OutRight Action International also confirmed Brunei was about to implement a new stage in its sharia laws.
The Brunei Prime Minister’s Department did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The head of the department for external church relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion, called the sex change operation “blasphemy” and “crime.” He stated this on the TV channel “Russia 24”, stressing that “the church never recognizes the perversions that exist in many Western countries when, for example, a child from childhood, almost from infancy, is told that there is a biological gender, but there is that gender which he can choose for himself. “
“In itself, the operation to change sex, from my point of view and from the point of view of the church, is blasphemy, is a crime against God,” said Hilarion on the program “Church and the World.”
The metropolitan said that if parents support the change of sex in their minor children and adolescents, then these actions should be qualified as a crime and punished in a criminal order.
Also, the metropolitan noted that “the church never recognizes this sex change as a fait accompli”: “If a person who has changed sex is baptized, he” will be baptized the way God created it: if it is a man “converted” into a woman, he will still be baptized as a man, “he said.
The leadership of the Catholic Church also opposed the change of sex, but in a less categorical form than representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. Pope Francis also criticized the theory of gender, which shares biological and social sex and opposed the fact that a person can independently make a decision on changing sex, and modern technologies will allow him to do this with relatively small losses. This statement by the Pope caused great criticism in the LGBT community.
Police are confiscating material found in the office and taking organizers in for interrogation.
Police raided a LGBTI center in Arkhangelsk, Russia today (28 March).
Officers arrived at the community center, Rakurs (meaning Angle), after an alleged ‘complaint’.
A Rakurs spokesperson told Gay Star News the incident is still ongoing at the time of publishing.
Officers arrived to the center, which provides advice to the LGBTI community, and demanded to inspect the office.
Volunteers, lawyers, and five visitors were also all prevented from leaving.
Officers are inspecting and withdrawing materials from the center.
Ivan Rasputin, the head of the Information Relations department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Arkhangelsk region, declined to comment.
Authorities have seven days to respond to comment.
Gay propaganda in Russia.
Sources suggest Russia’s government may wish to fine or ban the organization for conflating rules on ‘gay propaganda’.
In 2013 Russian president, Vladimir Putin, passed the ‘gay propaganda law’ which banned ‘information promoting the denial of traditional family values’ and ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’.
Activists have also argued the law censored the LGBTI community.
Its introduction has also led to a vast increase of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attacks.
Support groups for LGBTI minors have been shut down, gay festivals have been raided and attack groups torturing and murdering LGBTI people have surfaced.
The group works to protect the rights of LGBTI people in the northern region.
In December 2014, the court recognized the organization as a foreign agent.
Earlier this month, police interrogated an organizer of a youth festival.
Yulia Tsvetkova was receiving death threats for her part in organizing the Color of Saffron festival in the far eastern town of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
Due to run this weekend, local authorities canceled the event over concerns one of the plays in the festival promoted a ‘LGBTI agenda’.
The play called Blue and Pink featured teenage actors and discussed gender. The colors blue and pink are often represent the gay and lesbian community in Russia.
Authorities told festival organisers it would not be going ahead. They also accused Tsvetkova of importing ‘corruption and persecution’ from Europe.
These are the real stories of gay men who have been tortured, humiliated, beaten and electrocuted.
Survivors of Chechnya’s homophobic purge are, with very few exceptions, always anonymous.
Many people have fled for their lives. Officers could catch them and send them back to a concentration camp.
People are tortured, humiliated, beaten and electrocuted and murdered.
Very few can bear the pain without breaking.
Some former detainees have revealed what happened to them to Human Rights Watch.
The following survivors have all been given pseudonyms to protect their identities.
Survivors of Chechnya’s homophobic purge reveal what happened.
One remembers a torture named the ‘carousel’. Security officials put you face down on the floor and beat you with pipes.
Officers, when they’re tired, also force other prisoners to carry on with the beating.
‘You literally turn black and blue from waist to toes,’ one survivor said.
Other survivors remembered the homemade electric chairs.
One said: ‘They turn the knob, electric current hits you, and you start shaking. And they keep turning the hellish machine, and the pain is just insane, you scream, and scream, and you no longer know who you are…
‘Finally, you faint, it all goes dark, but when you come to your senses, they start all over again.
‘And once they’re done with you and you get your bearings, you hear other inmates screaming, and the sounds of torture are just there all day, and at some point, you start losing your mind.’
Zurab, 32, spent a week in the detention facility.
On 1 March, he was arrested at his home. Quickly, he deleted his cell phone of all evidence of his communications with other gay men.
The police officer drove Zurab to a security compound. The officials dragged him into a room where he saw two gay acquaintances. One of them was bloodied and bruised from a recent beating.
The security official demanded to know who he was and his relationship with them. Zurab claimed they were just business contacts.
‘They beat me, they gave me electric shocks attaching wires to my ear-lobes,’ he said.
‘I would not give in. I insisted those two lied about me.’
He also said: ‘But the humiliation was the worst part of it.
‘They called me a ‘woman,’ a ‘fag,’ an ‘ass-bugger’… the most offensive things one can call a man. They mocked me, taunted me. I could not stand it. I wished they just killed me.’
Zurab was also not fed in seven days he spent there locked in a cage, losing 22 pounds in a week. He was given water in accordance with Muslim ritual and only after prayers.
Security officials released Zurab after finding no evidence he was gay. Two weeks later, a friend told him security officials had rounded up an ex-lover who had pictures of him on his phone.
‘I could not face another detention…’ he said, who fled to southern Europe.
He also said: ‘If they showed [it] to my relatives… If my father doesn’t kill me, my uncle will.’
Khasan, a 20-year-old university student, was lured by an officer posing as a potential date.
The two met and the officer said there was an apartment outside the city limits.
After driving for 30 minutes, the officer posing as a gay man drove off the road into a field.
‘Three security officials in black uniforms were waiting for us there,’ Khasan said.
‘I understood everything as soon as I saw them, I begged him to turn back, I cried–but he pushed me out of the car.
‘They beat me, kicked me, and punched me in the face. They stripped me naked and filmed me on a cell phone, as they gave a running commentary about having caught a “faggot”.
The officials found Khasan’s phone and found intimate photographs and messages with other gay men.
Khasan was left with a broken jaw and bruises.
They said he had a month to deliver several thousand dollars or he would be outed to his family.
Khasan sold all his valuable electronic equipment, borrowed money and came up with the sum.
‘I did not have a choice. If my relatives found out about me being gay, the shame for the family would be unbearable,’ he said.
After he paid the ransom, he fled to join other survivors. He later learned that friends of his had been abducted – likely with information gathered from his phone. A friend’s mother called him in tears saying police had dragged her son away.
Magomed, 35, spent 11 days in the detention facility in Argun.
Three security officials accosted Magomed in a public place in Grozny. With them, a gay acquaintance was in handcuffs.
When the officials asked Magomed what they were after, he said no. One of the men then hit Magomed on the head.
Handcuffed, dragged into a car, he was driven to the camp. He was held there with around 40 to 50 people.
‘Every day it was torture, torture, and more torture,’ he said.
On his release, family members of many detainees had assembled in an official facility.
The officials shouted abuse while family members were forced to stand and listen.
Each detainee had to step forward, face his family and also ‘confess’ his sexual orientation.
‘Our relatives were in tears and they [officials] were telling them, “You know what to do now.”
‘They didn’t say “kill” but it was all crystal clear,’ Magomed said.
One of the detainees refused to ‘confess’ and security officials refused to release him to his relatives. Several other detainees were not released because their family members did not show up.
While officials ordered Magomed to not leave Chechnya, he kept hearing about detentions of gay people.
He immediately fled Chechnya for a neighboring region without even stopping to pack a bag, and from there went to central Russia.
‘My life is ruined. I cannot go back. And it’s not safe here [in central Russia] either,’ Magomed said.
It will be necessary to watch late to see Chechnya: The Purge on France 3 this Friday. The short film about homophobic repression in Chechnya will be broadcast on the night from Friday to Saturday at 1:35. But rest assured, the movie will then be visible in replay for a week.
The film tells the story of Doga, who works in the family restaurant, including the man he loves in secret. One day he is arrested by the Chechen police and his lover’s turn will not be long. When that happens, Doga finds himself in a gear that can only end badly.
Jordan Goldnadel, the director of Chechnya: La Purge , tells us that it was Evgeny Gordeyev, the main actor himself, who inspired this project:
“Four years ago, at the end of a difficult shoot, I found myself in the evening with people I did not know, friends of friends. And there, at 3 o’clock in the morning, I met Evgeny, who told me all his story, how he was from the Caucasus on the Chechen border, how he was beaten and humiliated in prison with his boyfriend just because they were homosexuals before finally settling in France. I did not see him again after that night, but his story touched me a lot and it was then that I started thinking about making a film about the treatment of homosexuals in this part of the world. Years later, when I heard about what was happening in Chechnya, I thought the time had come, we could not wait, there was a real urgency. is that friends in common then put us in touch with Evgeny, who had meanwhile become a comedian.He passed the auditions and immediately, I knew that the role was for him, since it’s a little history that we tell and who is at the origin of the film. “
The only salvation for Chechen homosexuals is indeed exile.
The shooting was not easy. The team had to keep the filming locations secret, following threats. Finding comedians was complicated too, as Jordan Goldnadel says: “We contacted talent agencies in Russia who at first were very excited about working with a French production, but who, by the time they learned from what to talk about the film, were unable to help us out of fear for their talents. (Even if off, they supported our approach!).
The casting was done through a word of mouth. We finally organized hearings. I also contacted myself Sacha Bourdo, who plays the role of the father, whom I loved very much as an actor. I had seen him in Gondry’s films and in the Western movie , for which he had been named to the Caesar. He immediately accepted. ” Since its release, the short film connects the festivals. And the spectators do not come out unscathed: “People are usually very shocked, many do not know what is happening in Chechnya. Some sensitive people sometimes get up and leave the room in the face of violent images (despite the fact that our film does not include terribly raw images). All are moved by the universal message of tolerance and respect for human rights.
The Russian newspaper Novaia Gazeta revealed in April 2017 the wave of anti-LGBT repression in Chechnya.
According to an OSCE report, published in late 2018, “There were several” waves “or” purges “: The first wave took place from December 2016 to February 2017, the second began in March 2017 and was continued until May, the month of Ramadan, after which the third wave began, before stopping largely due to international protests.
Asked about these persecutions in July 2017 , Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said: “We do not have those kinds of people. There are no gays here. If they are brought to Canada. Take them away from us that we do not have that anymore at home. To purify our blood, if there are any, take them away. “