A series of video clips currently making the rounds on the clip-sharing app WhatsApp purportedly shows an Uzbek student in Russia being forced at gunpoint to admit that he is gay, then being stripped, beaten and raped with a bottle by a gang of homophobic thugs. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that the videos show a terrified young man weeping as he is assaulted by the group of men.
RFE/RL said that the student was forced to identify himself and state that he is homosexual before the gang stripped him of his clothes and burned them. A man who claimed to be involved with the beating told RFE/RL’s Uzbek service that the student’s tormentors believed that they were punishing him for his own good.
“We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason,” said the source. “We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks. We live and work here, we are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise.”
He said that the attack took place on Wednesday in the city of Novosibirsk, the second most populous city in Russia after Moscow. The assailant identified himself and the rest of the attackers as an ethnic Uzbeks.
The gay student was reportedly lured to a designated point by way of a personal ad placed by anti-LGBT Russians, who handed him over to the Uzbek men.
“Russian guys caught him and called us to say they had a gay Uzbek,” said RFE/RL’s source. “We then questioned him and he confessed to everything. There were six or seven of us. The Russians told us he was a pedophile, which he denied. But he confessed that he was gay.”
The news organization said that it has seen the video, but was still attempting to verify the contents. The alleged attack is part of a wave of anti-LGBT violence that has gripped Russia since legislators began to pass a series of laws aimed at the country’s beleaguered LGBT population.