Russia: Police arrest protesters fighting draconian anti-LGBT laws

CWI member, Igor Yasin, and investigative journalist, Elena Kostyuchenko, among ten arrested [Update (20/12/12): Igor, Elena and 8 others released – full report to follow]

Ten people were arrested yesterday in Moscow following a protest against the latest attempts to pass draconian anti LGBT laws. They are still being held in police custody. They include a leading member of the Russian CWI, Igor Yasin, and Elena Kostyuchenko, the first foreign journalist to get to Zhanaozen, western Kazakhstan, after last December’s massacre of oil workers by riot police. After gathering information Elena Kostyuchenko did much to uncover the brutality of what was taking place.

The ten were taken to court this morning and charged with “hooliganism”, which could see them imprisoned for up to 15 days, meaning they could spend the New Year holiday in jail. However in court the judge read the protocol from the police and declared it had been wrongly completed, sending it back to the police to redraft. In the meantime, the ten are still being held.

Yesterday’s peaceful protest picket was attacked by a group of Russian Orthodox-Far Right thugs. A video presented by the police as evidence clearly shows that it was the picketers who were attacked and that they only acted to defend themselves. Whether this will be taken into account by the judge when the case is eventually heard remains to be seen.

Please send urgent protests to Russian embassies in your country, protesting at the unjustified arrests and demanding the immediate release of those being held in the Meshanskoe police station, Moscow

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December 2012