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Humanists UK patron Peter Tatchell detained in Russia for LGBT rights protest

Humanists UK patron and LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell was detained in Moscow today after protesting against the torture and imprisonment of gay men in Chechnya. He was subsequently released. Humanists UK is concerned about the clampdown on the right to free speech in Russia, which has intensified during its hosting of the World Cup tournament, as well as the extreme persecution of LGBT individuals occurring in Russia that Peter was seeking to highlight.

Peter was arrested after holding a one-man protest near the Kremlin building in Moscow. He was holding a poster criticising Putin’s complicity in the imprisonment of gay men in the Chechnya region of the country. This is sixth time that Peter has travelled to Russia. He has been arrested during protests on two previous occasions, and suffered brain injuries after being attacked by Russian far-right activists in 2007.

Last year, the United Nations called for an end to the abuse of human rights in the Republic of Chechnya, where men perceived as being gay are being forcingly detained and tortured in camps close to city of Argun by local militias and security forces. At least three men are known to have died as a result of such treatment.

Humanists UK’s Chief Executive, Andrew Copson, said ‘We are dismayed to hear that our patron Peter Tatchell was detained while raising awareness of Chechnya’s heinous torture and abuse of LGBT people, ahead of the World Cup.

‘Peter is a great example of a humanist who relentlessly stands up for human rights, risking his health and safety to speak truth to power – including to some of the world’s most powerful human rights-abusing regimes. Russia might want to silence those who shine a spotlight on its human rights abuses, but brave campaigners like Peter will always be here to hold them to account.’

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For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at richy@humanism.org.uk or on 0781 55 89 636.

At Humanists UK, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Our work brings non-religious people together to develop their own views, helping people be happier and more fulfilled in the one life we have. Through our ceremonies, education services, and community and campaigning work, we strive to create a fair and equal society for all.

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