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Amnesty International says it thinks about 100 homosexuals were rounded up in Azerbaijan’s operation during the last half of September, which the government said was necessary to contain sexually transmitted diseases and improve “morality.” In Chechnya, the rights group says, well over 100 people were detained and tortured, and at least three were killed.

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“Then four of them who were going off shift took me to the deputy police chief’s room." He says it's there that repeated rapes and other abuses took place and continued until he passed out.

Later that morning, Niko and his friend appeared in a Baku court where the judge sentenced them to 10 days of “administrative detention” on charges of “resisting police orders” -- the same charge that Azerbaijan’s Interior Ministry says was brought against 56 people who were sentenced to up to 30 days of “administrative detention” during the September crackdown.

In October, the Tajik Prosecutor-General’s Office announced it had compiled a list of what it said were 367 gay men and women in the country “in order to protect their safety and to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.” But Firuz, a 30-year-old gay man from Dushanbe, tells RFE/RL the LGBT community fears Tajikistan’s “gay registry” will be used for future crackdowns like those in Chechnya and Azerbaijan.

“The government’s mind-set is above the law in this situation.

Krivosheyev tells RFE/RL that the 2013 law initially encouraged a wave of homophobic attacks across Russia that, by 2017, had spread to other former Soviet republics in the form of official crackdowns, discrimination, and mob violence.

In Uzbekistan, where homosexuality is a crime, self-declared “vigilantes” have posed on social media to win the trust of gay men and lure them to meeting places.

BAKU -- Niko, a 27-year-old gay epileptic from Baku, recalls being beaten, tortured with electric shocks, and raped by four police officers who detained him during a crackdown on homosexuals in Azerbaijan.

“They raped me anally and orally,” says Niko, who asks that his real name not be used because he fears for his life.

But Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) say evidence of the Chechnya operations is undeniable -- with reports of the violence shocking the world. But I didn’t think it would happen in Azerbaijan to the same extent.

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