By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com November 12 2013 2:11 PM ET
A Russian Orthodox activist who shot eye irritant at an LGBT activist's face during a sanctioned pro-LGBT rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May, was convicted of "hooliganism" in court Monday but was given a suspended one-year sentence, meaning he won't serve any jail time.
Gleb Likhotkin, who Kremlin-backed news outlet Ria Novosti bills as the "leader of an anti-abortion movement and a campaigner against non-traditional sexual relations," was at a government-approved rally in St. Petersburg May 17 marking the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia when, police say, he "took personal offense" at a pro-gay slogan on a balloon an activist was carrying. Armed with a weapon described as both an air gun and an "eye irritant," Likhotkin fired one shot at the balloon, then at least one into the activist's face, according to Ria Novosti. The Russian news outlet notes that the LGBT activist was "trying to disarm" the religious fanatic.
Likhotkin was convicted of hooliganism, though he pleaded not guilty to the charge. The judge sentenced him to one year in jail, but then suspended the sentence, meaning Likhotkin will spend no time behind bars, according to American LGBT blog Towleroad.