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Russian police confirm man was tortured to death because he was gay

Sunday, May 12, 2013
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Update, Monday, May 13:
Police have confirmed the identity of the victim as Vladislav Tornovoy, 23.


VOLGOGRAD, Russia — Two men have been arrested for torturing a 23-year-old man to death in Russia in an apparent homophobic attack, investigators said Sunday.

Police Inspector Andrei Gapchenko told radio Ekho Moskvy that the body of the victim was found in the courtyard of an apartment complex on Friday morning; the victim suffered multiple stab wounds, and severe injuries to his genitals.

Vladislav Tornovoy

According to Gapchenko, a 22-year-old acquaintance of the victim and a 27-year-old ex-convict have been arrested and detained after telling police they had been drinking with the victim and attacked him after he admitted to them he was gay.

The two men then allegedly beat him, sodomized him with a beer bottle, and smashed in his skull with a stone. They have been charged with murder.

Prominent LGBT equality rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev told LGBTQ Nation that it is unheard of in most of these types of crimes for Russian police officials to specify that homophobia was the motive in an attack, adding that most attacks against Russian LGBTQ individuals are normally not described as such by police agencies.

Alexeyev noted that with the increasingly harsh treatment of LGBT persons in the Russian Federation, spurred on by passage of “anti-homosexual propaganda” laws, including recent efforts to pass a national measure given preliminary approval by Russia’s Parliament, has activists concerned that similar incidents will increase, encouraged by the laws as Russians would be “less likely to fear consequences for attacking gays.”

“This monstrous incident in Volgograd demonstrates the fruits of the homophobic policy that is being conducted in this country, including the initiative to ban homosexual propaganda,” Alexeyev said.

The government of Russian president Vladimir Putin has given the national law, expected to win final parliamentary approval within weeks, its tacit approval. The United Russia party, which dominates the Russian Duma has publicly stated its intent to add an amendment to the measure that would fine any persons who voice support for the Russian LGBTQ community.

Putin warned last month that agreements with other countries on the matter of adoption of Russian children may be changed to ban such adoptions if those countries legalize same-sex marriage.

The political climate regarding treatment of the LGBTQ community has become dire according to Alexeyev, as illustrated by the case of another leading Russian LGBT rights activists, Aleksei Kiselyov.

Kiselyov fled Russia to avoid prosecution by the Putin government for his protest activities and was granted political asylum by Spain in April.

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