LGBT people in Chechnya fear brutal persecution at the hands of government: Part 1

In Chechnya, LGBT people share their stories of being abducted and tortured, often hiding their sexuality from their own family. The police say the idea that gay people exist in Chechnya is an insult.
10:47 | 10/25/19

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Transcript for LGBT people in Chechnya fear brutal persecution at the hands of government: Part 1
The big event. Does feel, though, rather like I'm going into the lion's den, slightly. Ah. This is it. This is it here. Yeah, this is it. I think this is the arena. Wow. Reporter: This is a general, a picture bravado and bluster. And this man. Don't let their easy smiles fool you. They're part of a group of men accused of horrific human rights abuses, including the round up and torture of more than 200 men and women. Sparking headlines around the world, in what continues to be known as "The gay purge." This is the life amin always dreamed of, cooking, spending the days with the love of his life. Two years ago this was his life. Shorter hair, making women beautiful in his home city of grosny in chechnya. They're always leaving me with a beautiful smile and beautiful hair and I'm making people happy. Reporter: I'm often asked when did you know you were gay. For me I was about 15. What about you? I was a boy and I realized that I'm gay. Reporter: But in conservative chechnya, that part of his identity was something he kept hidden, even from his own It's all about, it's the most important thing. Reporter: What started as a normal day in 2017 changed his life forever. You're in your hair salon, and one day the police come. With the guns, and they put me in the back door of car. Reporter: They put you in the trunk? Yeah. And we got there, they opened the door, and they started just from that second, started beating me with fists. It was nonstop hitting. My body was blue, purple. And they were asking names of gay names like they tell me that they know that I'm gay. Reporter: Amin says he's spent 14 days in a police prison cell, beaten and electrocuted as his captors insisted he give the names of other gay men. And they put me in the wall. Put bag on my head. And that guy, charged his gun and put me right here on my head, and I started painting the wall with my blood. And he say that it's my last seconds. Reporter: What was going through your mind in that moment? Something bad. I just moved back, like so moved back. Like running away. Reporter: I'm sorry. It's okay. Reporter: Police released amin to his family, instructing them to take away his shame. What do they mean by take away the shame? I don't know. Maybe probably kill. Reporter: His family spared him. But amin's life in chechnya was over. Weeks later, he fled to Moscow. There are are more than 100 gay people who told us a similar story, of kidnapping and abuse. Despite an outrage around the world it never stopped. So we journeyed to chechnya to try to find out what is happening and why. This place is known for their two bloody and brutal wars with Russia. Russian forces are now closing in on the center of the Reporter: Tens of thousands lost their lives. A young chechen boy cries out for help. Reporter: It's been ten years since the end of the war, and chechnya is now dominated by machismo personified. He was commissioned by Vladimir Putin to calm the region, and he did, by turning it into his own personal fiefdom. I've seen what he's said about gay people. Reporter: For me, traveling here to tell the story has special significance. I'm a gay man, going to a place where gay people aren't allowed to exist. Reporter: OMAR always has to wear a mask. Amid a new wave of detentions, he says a member of his own family threatened to turn him in to security services. Reporter: Ricky only met other gay men two or three times a year. One of those times he says police secretly filmed him. Reporter: Victims repeatedly told us their persecutors were from the chechen police. They say they were held in prison cells in police stations all over the republic. This is just outside of grosny. And it's where it's alleged that dozens of gay young men and women have been imprisoned and tortured. This building here, the red, is where we think the young men and women are being detained. We've asked to get access, but it's difficult to film freely here. We're a bit worried they'll see us. So we have to be careful. Do people recognize you in the street? Do people know who you are? Translator: Of course, they all know. Reporter: The top-ranking general and head of all police forces in chechnya, along with the accusations against his forces in 2013, he, himself, was sanctioned by the U.S. For the alleged kidnapping and torture of a chechen politician. One of the reasons we're here is the United States has taken an interest in chechnya and has put sanctions on individuals here. Why do you think that they have done that? Reporter: He says the allegations of a gay purge are made up. The thought of a gay person in chechnya seems, for him, to be an insult. Reporter: So there are no gay people in chechnya? Reporter: Appearances are deceptive in chechnya's capital. A modern city at the heart of what many describe as a police state. People are saying police state. I don't think he likes the phrase "Police state." This is all really rather surreal. We're in the middle of grosny. And as if to prove it's a safe city, he's now taken a walking tour, and everyone here knows who he is. Translator: It's important that everyone grows up as a man. Reporter: Okay. So what we've got here is a typical act of the joking strong man, but what he's accused of is not a joke. Presumably, we're asked to get into this car, is that the idea? Is the police station staffed at night? Translator: Yeah, they'll be there. Reporter: What do we know about this place? Translator: I don't know. Keep rolling, James. Reporter: We arrive to other men, kalashnikovs ready. What happens inside the prison, when we come back. What if I told you that I was gay?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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