A gay Chechen refugee who mysteriously disappeared for several months has resurfaced on television and apologised for “disgracing” the public.
Movsar Eskerhanov told Time magazine earlier this year that he had been threatened and blackmailed in Chechnya after coming out as gay.
He asked for asylum in Germany and remained at a German refugee camp where other Chechens recognised him and attacked him before he was refused asylum.
Following the interview, Eskerhanov mysteriously disappeared for months until earlier this week, when he resurfaced on state television for an investigation by Chechen television network Grozny.
According to Gay Star News, the station described Eskerhanov as a “mentally ill person” who lied about being gay. The network also claimed the story was “sensationalised” by Western media.
Speaking to the television network, Eskerhanov claimed he was set up by the media and framed to say he was gay before claiming that his coming out was made under the effects of epilepsy medication.
He said: “They disgraced me before the Chechen people and the Chechen leader, I was framed. That’s why I apologise to the residents of Chechnya, the leadership of Chechnya, the Chechens living in the North Caucasus and Europe.”
Chechens who criticise the republic’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, are forced to give televised apologies, leading many to suggest that Eskerhanov played along with Grozny’s report in order to keep his family safe.
Meanwhile, it was reported last month that pop singer Zelimkhan Bakaev who went missing in Chechnya was tragically tortured to death by authorities.