Chechen parliament speaker Magomed Daudov appears to have been a driving force behind the purge, Human Rights Watch says.
Detainees have been released to their families and in some cases further humiliated by the authorities, who pressured the men's relatives to "cleanse" the "huge stain on family honor." "They wouldn’t say it directly but we all knew what it meant," one interviewee said.
"People targeted by the anti-gay purge in Chechnya ... remain at great risk of being hounded by Chechen authorities or their own relatives as long as they remain in Russia," the Human Rights Watch report says. "The families of anyone who might step forward, and families who refuse to meet demands of officials or relatives to force their gay loved ones to return to Chechnya, may also be at acute risk of threats, harassment, and retaliation."
The Russian LGBT Network is working to evacuate survivors to safety, aiming to help them get visas to other countries. A spokesperson for the group told BuzzFeed News "negotiations have been difficult" and that she had been told the US is "not going to provide visas."