Press release: LGBTI Intergroup calls on Chechen authorities to release Idris Arsamikov

Brussels, 22 February 2023

Idris Arsamikov is a gay Chechen refugee who fled to the Netherlands in 2018, where he was granted refugee status, to escape the electroshock torture he was subjected to by authorities. The Russian Republic of Chechnya is known for the prosecution, arbitrary detention and torture of perceived gay men, which the European Parliament highlighted in 2019.[1]

Because Idris’ father passed away recently, he asked permission to the Dutch Immigration Service to attend his funeral in Russia; he was subsequently arrested at Moscow airport.[2] Civil society organisations have relayed to us that he was arrested on false claims.

He is currently facing a risk of death, aggravated further by a video which surfaced where he ‘confesses’ to crimes under pressure. 

Malin Bjork MEP (Left), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and Substitute in the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), comments:

The prosecution of gay men in Chechnya is not new – it has been a policy of this Russian Republic since at least 2017. Yet the news about Idris raise alarm to the fact that they continue to be implemented today in clear violation of international human rights law. Arbitrary detention, torture – these are the rule, not the exception, in Russia’s toolbox. We call on the immediate and unconditional release of Idris so that he can return to safety. 

Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP (Non-attached Member), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and Member in the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), concludes:

We must, as representatives of the European Union, use all tools at our disposal to protect the innocent and their rights. This is why we urge governments to use whatever diplomatic channels they may have to request the release of Idris. We will do so on our end, calling on EU institutions to raise this issue as a matter of priority. No one should be illegally detained nor put at risk because of their sexual orientation. 

[1] European Parliament resolution on the situation in Chechnya (12 February 2019), accessible at

[2] The Moscow Times (16 February 2023), “Russia detains Gay Chechen Refugee at Moscow Airport”, accessible at

Press contacts:

Office of Malin Björk– Charlotta Narvehed (

Office of Fabio Massimo Castaldo – Francesca Acampora (