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Russian LGBT activists urge government to investigate ‘gay-hunting’ site

EMMA POWYS MAURICE AND AMY ASHENDEN August 14, 2019
Russian LGBT activist murdered Yelena Grigoryeva was a victim of a website for hunting gay peopl

Yelena Grigoryeva was a victim of a website for hunting gay people. (Dinar Idrisov/ Facebook)

Russian LGBT+ activists are urging authorities to investigate a suspected ‘gay-hunting’ website and bring the people behind it to justice.

Based on the Saw horror movie franchise, the site encourages users to upload the details of LGBT+ people, including photos and addresses, for others to find and attack.

It is thought to be responsible for the recent murder of LGBT+ activist Yelena Grigoryeva, who was found dead in St. Petersburg with multiple stab wounds and signs of strangulation.

Although the website has since been taken down, the global LGBT+ rights organisation All Out argues that every time it disappears, it reappears a few weeks later because the police never investigate the website owners.

The website charged fees for users to get access to the information to “play the game”, and extorted those whose details were online, charging them fees to have their information removed.

The campaign launched by All Out is now urging Russian authorities to investigate the group and its actions once and for all.

The petition reads: “A Russian group acting under the name ‘Saw’ has published a website promoting a ‘Chechnya Comeback’, referring to the wave of attacks against LGBT+ people in Chechnya.

“The group has created an anti-LGBT+ blacklist, encouraging its readers to hunt down dozens of Russian LGBT+ activists, supporters, and journalists.

“We urge you to investigate the group and its actions, to determine if there is a connection with the murder of Elena Grigorieva, and to bring the people behind the anti-LGBT+ blacklist to justice.”

The campaign is being run in conjunction with Alliance of LGBT and Heterosexuals for EqualityComing OutRussian LGBT NetworkSide by Side LGBT Film Festival, and Stimul.

Surging violence and rights violations against Russian LGBT+ communities.

Violence against the Russian LGBT+ community has surged in recent years after Russia’s parliament passed a federal law banning “gay propaganda”. This law has been found to violate human rights standards.

Unfortunately, the suspected ‘gay-hunting’ website is the latest in a string of anti-LGBT+ crimes in Russia.

Gay men in Chechnya have been illegally detained and tortured, and activists working to help them have received death threats.

The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia to have violated LGBT+ people’s rights three times in as many years.

The country lost a 2018 case over a ban on Pride events, while a 2017 decision found that the country’s gay ‘propaganda’ law violates human rights standards.

Most recently, last month, the court ordered Russia to pay complainants €42,500 (£38,350) for violating freedom of association by blocking the registration of LGBT+ groups.

More: All Out, Russia, Yelena Grigoryeva

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