Nicolas Alexeyev, one of the main organisers of Moscow Pride, was interrogated by police yesterday over an incident on live TV where he outed a leading Russian politician.
He referred to Article 51 of the Russian Constitution, which allows citizens not to give evidence against themselves, but also said he can produce proof that MP Alexander Chuev is homosexual.
Mr Alexeyev also revealed yesterday that gay activists will picket the offices of Mr Chuev’s political party, Fair Russia, next month, under the slogan “I also know that Chuev is gay.”
He told GayRussia.ru: “If the case is sent to court the prosecution will probably have to ask to closed hearing because some personal moments of Chuev’s life may emerge.”
Mr Alexeyev is concerned that the authorities may pressure witnesses before any court trail.
He is due to be questioned again, with Mr Chuev, tomorrow.
The charges arise from comments he made on live TV in June.
Speaking on the talk show K baryeru! Mr Alexeyev, who was convicted of a minor offence for his role in May’s banned Moscow Pride march, outed the conservative MP.
Mr Chuev is one of the most outspoken opponents of gay rights, and has introduced proposals to the Duma to outlaw the “promotion” of homosexuality and ban “gay propaganda.”
Mr Alexeyev claimed that Mr Chuev’s gay relationships were well-known in the 1990s before he became a politician, and called him a coward and a liar.
“We reached the most important thing during this TV show,” Mr Alexeyev said at the time of his TV outburst.
“We showed all hypocrisy of the representatives of the present Russian authorities.
“They have secret homosexual relationships but at the same time they do all their best in order to slander gays and lesbians.
“I am ready to prove at any court or prosecution office that deputy Chuev is gay and to produce corresponding proofs.”
It was the first time a politician had been outed in Russia.
To prove that he is guilty of slander, Russian investigating authorities will have to demonstrate that calling Mr Chuev ‘gay’ spoilt his reputation or dignity.
Mr Alexeyev said that by charging him with slander, the authorities were “caught in their own trap.”
“On the one hand they are saying all the time that no-one is discriminating gays in Russia and that there is no problem being gay and on the other hand they are investigating whether the word ‘gay’ can be insulting.
“Obviously not, because homosexual relations are no longer prosecuted in Russia and homosexuality is not classified as a mental illness.”