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Russian Gay Activist Detained by Police

Russian Gay Activist Detained by Police


Nikolai Alekseev, the leading gay activist in Russia, was detained Wednesday by Russian authorities, who are demanding that he abandon a picket against Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov and drop lawsuits over the banning of Moscow Gay Pride.

According to UK Gay News, which translated a news article from Thursday morning, Alekseev said, "They demanded of me to give up on the picket Luzhkov and withdraw a complaint by the gay pride of European court."

Alekseev, who organizes Moscow Gay Pride, and other activists had been planning to demand the resignation of Mayor Luzhkov, who has called the gay pride parade "satanic." The activist also has filed lawsuits with the European Court of Human Rights over the banning of the Moscow pride event over the past five years.

Alekseev, who was detained while trying to board a flight to Geneva, said that he was no longer being held at Domodedovo Airport, but he could not confirm his whereabouts.

"I cannot say where [I am], but not in Moscow," he said.

Alekseev said he had been threatened if he attempted to leave for Switzerland.

Activist Nikolai Baev articulated the deep concern about Alekseev, who may be in the custody of the FSB, formerly the KGB.

"The government is clearly losing to the the gay activists in the legal fight, so they resort to violence," said Baev, according to UK Gay News. "I do not rule out homophobic insults, abuse and even torture against him."

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