Over the last several years, anti-LGBTQ “purges” have taken place in Chechnya, a conservative Russian republic.
Chechen officials, according to many reports and testimonies, have rounded up people they believe to be gay, tortured them and then released them to family members who were encouraged to commit “honor killings.”
Fearing for their lives, some young queer people have fled the predominantly Muslim region with the hopes of finding safety outside Russia.
“Welcome to Chechnya,” a documentary directed by David France available now on HBO, follows these refugees and the activists going to extraordinary lengths to help them escape.
TIME recently spoke with France about the extreme security measures he put in place for “Welcome to Chechnya,” what he thinks of the government’s denials, and why, despite the risk, Chechens were willing to tell their stories.
Read the David France interview at Time.
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