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Gay Activist Nikolai Alexeyev 'Has Apartment Searched By Russian Police'

27/08/2013 16:25 BST
AP
A woman holds a poster depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest in front of the Russian embassy in Madrid, Spain Friday Aug. 23, 2013 against Russia's new law on gays. Protesters, called for the Winter 2014 Olympic Games to be taken away from Sochi, Russia, because of a new Russian law that bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies.(AP Photo/Paul White)

A prominent LGBT activist in Russia has said police wearing plain clothes attempted to break into his apartment.

Speaking to Interfax news agency, Nikolai Alexeyev – against whom a criminal case has been launched over his "insulting" Twitter remarks regarding Russia's anti-gay legislation – revealed details of the alleged late night raid.

Alexeyev, one of the foremost leaders of the gay and lesbian community in Russia, said the search was linked to an investigation requested by two United Russia lawmakers, Yelena Mizulina and Yelena Batalina, who say the campaigner insulted them on Twitter.

"These people tried to break in at 7am, I presume it was the police in connection with the Mizulina case. It's a downright disgrace, they've woken up the whole building," he said.

He added that they were unable to break down his door: "It's locked from the inside... I'm in an apartment," he said.

Yelena Mizulina, the head of the State Duma's Committee on Family, Women and Children, and her first deputy Yelena Batalina told prosecutors in July that Alexeyev posted rude comments about them in connection with the "gay propaganda law" that they support.

Mizulina told Izvestia newspaper prosecutors were to launch a criminal case on charges of “insulting a representative of authority.”

The offence is punishable by a fine of up to 40,000 rubles (£800) or community service.

"If a criminal case is launched, we will ask to penalise him with community service in places where he will be unable to carry out his gay propaganda, for example, in a coroner's van," Mizulina told Izvestia after requesting an investigation.

Speaking to the newspaper, Mizulina said she had not felt offended by Alekseyev’s tweets, but that she felt obligated to “defend the interest of all deputies”.

Authorities today confirmed the attempted search.

“Investigators from Russia's Investigative Committee have visited Alekseyev at his place of residence to carry out a search sanctioned by a court,” an unnamed Committee representative said today.

Alexeyev was detained last year after he picketed the city hall in St. Petersburg with a poster which said that "homosexuality is not a perversion."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sparked outrage after signing a bill banning the promotion of homosexuality toward minors.

The move has spurred world-wide condemnation and prompted calls for a boycott of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

russia gay

Gay-rights activists have responded furiously to the anti-gay legislation