Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a
shocking video which shows the violence LGBT Russians face following
passage of a controversial anti-gay law in June.
Footage included in the video was shot
by the perpetrators, who proudly posted it on YouTube and other video
“Human Rights Watch has documented a
large number of vicious attacks and aggressive harassment of LGBT –
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – people in Russia. It's
happening in the context of the homophobic legislation that bans
propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors,”
Tanya Cooper of HRW said in the four-and-a-half minute video.
The short film follows the rise of the
group Occupy Pedophilia.
The group “essentially uses the
pretext of protecting children, of fighting pedophilia to harass and
attack gay people,” Cooper said.
Members lure mostly gay men with the
promise of a date, then proceed to verbally and physically attack
them. The incidents are filmed and posted on the Internet.
“People think that an LGBT person is
not a human being, but simply a toy they can play with,” said Gleb
Latnik, a victim of such an attack. “If such a person is walking
on the street, they think, 'Why not punch him?'”
“This is an organized phenomenon,”
said Igor Kochetkov, chairman of Russian LGBT Network. “These
groups operate across Russia, they are coordinated online. And this
movement has a distinct ideology, it's a neo-Nazi ideology.”
Because of Russia's law “they don't
even have to hide” their attacks anymore, he added.
“There is a total failure on the part
of the Russian law enforcement authorities to take active measures to
prosecute hate crimes against LGBT people,” Cooper said.
Latnik added that when he went to the
police to report his attack he was told that such incidents were
normal for gays. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)