Daudov appears to have been a driving force behind the purge, "both securing and giving approval from the Chechen leadership."
"Most of the former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported hearing the police who held and abused them refer to Daudov and to orders he allegedly issued about violence against gay men," the report says. Three interviewees also spotted Daudov at detention sites, watching the police administer beatings.
Police harassment of gay and bisexual men is not new in Chechnya. But until 2017, the report says, beatings and extortion typically served to fill officers' pockets and weren't coordinated on a high level.
"They get one person, go through his phone, torture him, make him name some others, get those others, and so it goes," one of the victims said, describing brutal beatings and electric shocks. "In the place where I was held, we were four [gay men] at first, but several days later we were already 20."