Gay man in Dagestan charged with distributing pornography

An unnamed gay man in the Russian republic of Dagestan has been charged with distributing pornography, the North Caucasus SOS Crisis Group, which provides assistance to LGBTQ+ people in the region, said on Thursday.

The crisis group said the detainee and his partner had initially been arrested when they went to the home of adult content provider Matvey Volodin, who is known by the alias USSRboy, after meeting him on the Hornet dating app.

The pair were unaware that their encounter with Volodin was being filmed, and that agents from the Centre for Combating Extremism, a special unit within the Russian police, were waiting for them. Both men were subsequently arrested.

Law enforcement officers then found a video containing adult content that one of the unnamed men had sent to the other. He now faces a custodial sentence if convicted.

Volodin was himself sent to pretrial detention on 11 June, having first disappeared in Dagestan at the end of May. Detained and imprisoned for 10 days for petty hooliganism, Volodin was held once again by plain clothes police officers as he left the detention centre on 5 June, and is now facing fresh charges of producing and distributing pornography.

Volodin had gone to Dagestan in late May at the invitation of men who had contacted him online. However, they turned out to be police, who, after beating him and confiscating his phone, forced him to assist them with entrapping gay men online. Using Volodin’s account to invite people to the apartment, the officers filmed his sexual encounters with more than five men, according to North Caucasus SOS.

In November, the Russian Supreme Court declared the “international LGBT social movement” an “extremist organisation”, which has led to arbitrary arrests throughout the country. The North Caucasus has a long history of homophobic violence and is considered the most dangerous region of Russia for LGBT people.

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