HAVANA, Cuba — Cuban law enforcement officials on Friday arrested and detained the leader of a Russian anti-gay extremist group, according to a source in the Russian Federal Security Services, the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation.
An Interpol “wanted” arrest and detention warrant was served on Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich in a raid on a central Havana hotel room where he was determined to be residing.
The source also told LGBTQ Nation that a laptop computer, mobile phone, and other equipment belonging to Martsinkevich was seized as evidence.
Russian authorities initiated criminal proceedings in November against Martsinkevich for a number of anti-gay assaults on gay and perceived gay citizens inside the Russian federation by his group “Occupy Pedophilia.” Martsinkevich’s alleged attacks include assaults on citizens from Ukraine, Iraq, and South Africa.
Martsinkevich and his followers believe that being gay equates to being a pedophile, and boast via their social media pages that they are on the “hunt” for pedophiles to eliminate the “deviant filth” from Russian society.
His group has produced numerous videos on the Russian social media site VKontakte (vk.com) as well as YouTube, documenting violent and homophobic harassment of men and gay youth the group claims were seeking to have sex with boys.
The graphic videos often go viral and have also been used to humiliate gay teenagers who responded to false dating invitations from what they thought were other gay youth in chat rooms.
The charge is punishable by a sentence of 3–5 years imprisonment.
Martsinkevich claimed on his vk.com page that he was in Cuba as early as Dec. 10, having fled both Russia and Ukraine after prosecutors from the Ukrainian port city of Sevastopol issued an arrest warrant for an alleged assault last month on a former contestant of the British talent competition “The X Factor.”
Russian officials confirmed Saturday that they are in the process of initiating extradition proceedings with the Cuban government, which are expected to result in Martsinkevich’s deportation and return to Russia within the next two weeks.