Chechen refugee opens up about facing persecutions

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26-year-old man from Chechnya who became the first refugee welcomed into France now shares about what it meant to be gay in his rather homophobic homeland where he was forced to live in fear. “If it [sexuality] becomes known, you are in danger, and so are those close to you. People are killed over rumours there. At home, I didn’t know calm and tranquillity,” the man shared, adding that gay men mostly hide their sexuality and if it becomes known they just disappear. When the police found out that Azmad was gay they let him go after the first round of questioning. “I escaped because I understood that I would not manage to get through it. It was going to be obvious who I am,” he said. Azmad escaped to the neighbouring region before taking a bus to Moscow where he hid for two months. He left with just the clothes on his back, and his family do not know if he is safe or alive. “I am going to try to forget,” he says, and “become a normal man, that is, begin to live a normal life, a life that normal people live.”

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