Gay ac­tivist held over protest at the Krem­lin

Daily Express - - COME ON ENGLAND - By Jerry Lawton

BRI­TISH hu­man rights cam­paigner Peter Tatchell was ar­rested in Moscow shortly be­fore yes­ter­day’s World Cup open­ing cer­e­mony.

Mr Tatchell, who has stood for Par­lia­ment, was led away by of­fi­cers af­ter un­furl­ing a ban­ner out­side the Krem­lin protest­ing about Rus­sia’s treat­ment of gay men.

He was later re­leased and bailed to ap­pear at a po­lice sta­tion in the cap­i­tal on July 26.

Mr Tatchell, who was un­hurt, was made to sign a Rus­sian po­lice form that he did not un­der­stand.

Last night, he said he had writ­ten to Moscow’s po­lice chief ask­ing for his case to be axed on the grounds he is fly­ing home on Monday.

Mr Tatchell, 66, was protest­ing about the tor­ture and im­pris­on­ment of 100 gay men in Chech­nya.

Dozens have fled fear­ing they will be tar­geted for their sex­u­al­ity.

“I was ex­er­cis­ing my law­ful right to protest un­der the Rus­sian con­sti­tu­tion,’’ Mr Tatchell said.

“Get­ting ar­rested is stan­dard for Rus­sians who protest for LGBT rights or against cor­rup­tion, eco­nomic in­jus­tice and Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea and its bomb­ing of civil­ians in Syria. Un­like brave Rus­sian pro­test­ers I have the ‘pro­tec­tion’ of a Bri­tish pass­port, which means my fate was mild com­pared to what often hap­pens to Rus­sians who dare to chal­lenge the Putin regime.

“Lit­tle ac­tion has been taken by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment to crack down on far-Right ex­trem­ists who tar­get LGBT peo­ple for vi­o­lent and hu­mil­i­at­ing as­saults.”

It was the third time Mr Tatchell has been ar­rested in Rus­sia.

He said he suf­fered brain dam­age af­ter he was at­tacked by neo-Nazis in 2007.

Mr Tatchell protest­ing yes­ter­day about the treat­ment of gay peo­ple in Rus­sia

Mr Tatchell is led away by po­lice

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