Prominent Russian gay activist Nikolai
Alekseev (also spelled Alexeyev), who was abducted Wednesday by
security officials, said the ordeal was “really frightening,” the
Alekseev is the organizer of Moscow's
Gay Pride Parade. The annual event, which has been routinely banned
by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, is more a protest than a parade and is
marred by frequent, often violent, clashes with the police.
The activist was arrested as he
attempted to board a Swiss Air Lines flight bound for Geneva.
He told the AP that he was whisked by
four plain-clothed men to a police station in the city of Kashira,
about 25 miles from the airport.
The men, who didn't identify
themselves, hurled gay slurs at Alekseev and pressured him to drop
cases before the European Court of Human Rights against Moscow's bans
on gay rights rallies.
The Russian Interfax news agency on
Friday reported that it had received text messages from Alekseev's
cellular phone saying that he was in Minsk, Belarus. But Alekseev
said this telephone was confiscated and denied sending the messages.
Alekseev said he was moved to the city
of Tula on Friday and released around dawn on Saturday. He traveled
about 120 miles by bus to Moscow.
“I really thought something bad was
going to happen; it was really frightening,” he said.
Activists are planning a protest
against Moscow Mayor Luzhkov on Tuesday. While other Russian cities
have taken similar steps to ban pro-gay events, Luzhkov has been
outspoken in his objections to gay rights, likening the gay parade to
a “Satanic act” and a “social plague” on par with drug abuse,
xenophobia and ethnic feuding.