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Amnesty International calls for arrests in St Petersburg

Putin's pledge to welcome LGBT people at Sochi 'hollow' due to hate crimes: director

Amnesty International's Denis Krivosheev says Putin's pledge to welcome LGBT people at Sochi flies in the face of ongoing hate crimes. Credit: amnesty.org

An Amnesty International (AI) director has called for the swift arrest and prosecution of those responsible for a Nov 3 attack on a St Petersburg organization that supports men who have sex with men.

One man was shot in the face with a pneumatic gun and has a bullet lodged in his eye, while a woman was hit with a baseball bat during the attack at a social event at the offices of LaSky-St Petersburg, which provides STD education and prevention services for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Gay Star News identifies the two injured people as Dmitry Chizhevsky and Anna Prutskova. The report quotes Chizhevsky as saying that he may not regain sight in the injured eye.

In a statement on Amnesty International's website, Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia deputy director, calls the attack "insidious" and "sadly characteristic of a widespread atmosphere of homophobia in Russia today." 

LaSky says it's not the first time the organization has been targeted by anti-gay groups who post threatening messages on social media sites. 

Krivosheev adds, "The Russian authorities must seek out, investigate and prosecute all those responsible for these violent attacks. Russian President Putin has publicly said the country would welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but such pledges ring hollow in the face of these ongoing hate crimes.”