Prison sentence reduced for leader of Russian anti-gay vigilante group

Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich

Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich

MOSCOW — The leader of the Russian anti-gay vigilante group “Occupy Pedophilia” who is alleged to have lured LGBT youth into abusive encounters through fake social media profiles, and who is serving five years in prison on unrelated charges, has had his sentence reduced.

Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich was convicted of inciting and fomenting cases of extremism by posting videos on the “Vkontakte” ( social network that contained racial slurs and extremist opinions on Russia’s state of the union. Videos containing anti-gay statements and abuse were not included in the prosecutor’s case against him, however.

He was sentenced in August to five years in a Russian prison labor camp, but this week he successfully appealed to have the sentence reduced.

According to a spokesperson for the Russian Federal Prosecutor’s office in Moscow, the court agreed to reduce Martsinkevich’s prison time to less than three years, because there were allegedly no “casualties” as a result of his activities.

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Martsinkevich rose to international attention in 2013 when his group began posting videos on and YouTube, documenting violent and homophobic harassment of men and gay youth the group claims were seeking to have sex with other males.

After authorities in what was then Sevastopol, Ukraine, sought to arrest him for crimes against a young male adult citizen in that country, Martsinkevich fled to Cuba in December 2013, but was arrested in January for violating Cuban immigration law.

He was extradited to Russia and has been in custody ever since.

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