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Gays write to Russian president about governor’s homophobic outburst

Stephanie Phillips July 1, 2008

Gay rights activists in Russia have written a letter to the President of the Russian Federation in an attempt to put pressure on the government to prosecute the homophobic governor of Tambov.

The governor, Oleg Betin, made his offensive comments in an interview with national daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, after the mayor of the city of Tambov was arrested for allegedly kidnapping his 19-year-old gay lover.

When asked of his opinion and tolerance of sexual minorities Betin replied: “Tolerance? Like hell. Gay people should be torn. And their pieces should be thrown downwind.”

Betin also said he is against ‘distortions’ and that it is necessary ‘to clean this nasty herd.’

Representatives of Russia’s LGBT community wrote to the President on yesterday stating that prosecution of the governor is necessary for the protection of their civil rights and to help end discrimination against sexual minorities.

In the letter they said:

“LGBT Rights movement consider inadmissible this kind of statement from the lips of the official, governing the subject of the Russian Federation.

“People of homosexual orientation are full rights citizens of the Russian Federation, and so, such appeals to violent punishment above citizens of Russia, not only break the criminal code of the Russian Federation, but also the Constitution of Russia.”

Although the group have taken action a response does not look likely as the president, Dmitriy Medvedev, does not have a good record for responding to letters from the LGBT community.

Organisers of Moscow’s Pride event, which has been banned by the city for several years, started legal proceedings against the president after he failed to respond to letter asking him to intervene.

The group claim that Medvedev’s failure to respond to a letter sent to him in may breaks a law that guarantees citizens a reply within 30 days.

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