Russia’s top gay-rights activist says he was kidnapped and pressured by his captors to withdraw a complaint against Moscow authorities from the European Court of Human Rights.
Nikolai Alekseyev resurfaced early on Saturday in Moscow after being arrested at the capital’s Domodedovo airport late on September 15 as he prepared to board a flight to Geneva. He had been missing since, and his friends and colleagues had feared for his life. [Radio Free Europe]
Alexeyev is widely known in the international gay rights movement for his repeated efforts to organize parades in Moscow. The city, whose mayor Yuri Luzhkov has publicly called homosexuals “satanic,” routinely bans the gatherings, most of which are harshly dispersed by police within minutes. [Associated Press]
Alexeyev said his captors, four men who were not in uniform and didn’t identify themselves, insulted him, using “all the slang words for homosexuals in the dictionary” and demanded he withdraw suits he had filed with the European Court of Human Rights protesting Moscow’s continued ban on gay rights rallies.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay feelings remain strong.