Police in Moscow have been forced into action after a news magazine published an interview with a man who boasted about beating up a gay German MP in the city in May 2006.
More than 120 people were arrested in Moscow after campaigners attempted to hold the capital’s first gay rights rally.
Volker Beck, a Green member of the German parliament and veteran gay rights activist, was attacked by 20 religious protesters and punched in the face while he was giving a television interview.
Despite the number of arrests, no-one was charged with assualting Mr Beck, who had asked the Moscow authorities for a full investigation of the attack, as did the Gay Pride organisers.
An investigation was denied and the case was closed.
A report in the Russian edition of magazine Newsweek, Mr Beck’s attacker was interviewed for ab article headlined Gays and Villainy. It was posted on the Internet on June 2 and published in the magazine’s June 5-11 issue.
“I am proud that I beat the German,” Alexey Napylov told Newsweek reporters.
“Even if they deal with me, I will not get a serious charge.
“I attacked him because it was needed. There are normal gays who are not showing their preferences and there are faggots who are proud of their perversions … they should be taught a lesson.”
It has now emerged that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the German Embassy in Moscow that the investigation to find the person responsible attacking Mr Beck had resumed.
The case has been transferred to the General Prosecutor’s office which informed the Ministry that Tverskoy district prosecution department held all previous decisions in the case as “unlawful and unjustified.”
The German Embassy was informed that “the head of investigation department of Tverskoi district militia station of Moscow was asked to correct all breaches of federal legislation. The same day a decision was taken to punish responsible officials with disciplinary actions.”
Speaking on behalf of the Moscow Gay Pride organising committee, Nicolas Alexeyev said:
“If the attacker of Volker Beck is found and brought to justice it will be a good sign of changing attitudes.”
In 2007 British gay activist Peter Tatchell was savagely punched in the face at Moscow Gay Pride. Despite television footage of the attack and a number of published photographs that clearly showed the attacker’s face, the Moscow authorities were unable to identify the person and bring him to justice.
This week Moscow Gay Pride sent their sixth complaint to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the denial by the Moscow authorities of the right to demonstrate and freedom of assembly.
This latest application to the Strasbourg-based court is over the ban of a picket that was scheduled to take place last year on May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia.
The main aim of the banned picket was to demand the criminal prosecution of Moscow Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, for systematic and unlawful bans of all public events staged by gays and lesbians in the Russian capital.
Of the five previously sent to the court, two concern the bans of Moscow Gay Pride events in May 2006 and May 2007, and the remaining three concern the bans of various pickets during 2007.
The Court has yet to hold preliminary hearings on any of the cases.