LGBT Activists Arrested In Moscow Say Police Beat Them & Threatened Rape
A group of 10 activists arrested earlier today for unfurling rainbow flags in Moscow's Red Square have come forward to claim that police beat and threatened them sexually while they were in custody. The group sang the Russian national anthem while holding the Gay Pride flags as the Opening Ceremonies kicked off in Sochi. Moscow cops wasted no time in violently breaking up the crowd and arresting them, all recorded in a video that hit the Internet early Friday:
But we're now learning what happened after the video ends. According to BuzzFeed:
The group included two Swedish activists, who were released about an hour after they were detained. One of the Swedes, Ulrika Westerlund of the LGBT organization RFSL, emailed to BuzzFeed a transcript of a text message exchange she had with Russian activists still in detention that reported at least two of the group had been beaten and threatened with sexual abuse.
The last of these messages arrived 11:30 p.m. Moscow time, or 2:30 p.m. in New York.
Text message from me: We didn’t sign anything. Are you all still there?
From them: Yes, in cage. They beated [sic] two of us
Me: oh no, who? What can we do? Can you keep reporting? Are all of you in the same cage?
Them: Two queers. Before that they took us upstairs and said that we have to “suck their cocks” and that we have to be burned. When we said that we gonna complain. So they bring us back to cage. So we dont let them close it without paper, pen and their names. So they beat two of us and then used cuffs
Them: Yes we are together. Now we are singing New text from them: They beated [sic] our people again - cause we asked to let our public defender come to us. They didnt give us any docs
ORDinfo.com has another report of what transpired in the Moscow jail:
OVD-Info spoke to the arrested [activists] in Kitai-Gorod police station, they are all currently in a cage, and two of them… are handcuffed to it. [Police] kicked them into the cage and twisted their arms. At some point Elena Kostyuchenko and Reida Lin were taken upstairs, where two men in civilian clothes insulted them and offered to provide sexual services, all under the pretense of filling out some sort of form, the arrested did not manage to learn their names and they were not allowed to write a complaint. As yet no charges have been filed against the arrested [activists] and it is not clear what will happen to them.
The remaining eight prisoners were released around 12:30 a.m. Moscow time, early Saturday morning. None suffered major injuries, though two of the activists nearly had their arms broken, one was choked by an officer, and a few were kicked while handcuffed to a cage.