LGBT rights protesters who were arrested today in Moscow say they were beaten and threatened with sexual abuse while in custody.
According to BuzzFeed:
The website OVDinfo.org, which tracks detentions in Russia, reported that the Russians in detention include Elena Kostyuchenko, Anna Anenkova Gleb Warrior, Lynne Reid, Olga Mazurova, Knicks Nemeni Tarja Polyakova, and Daria Starshinina.
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. …
Text message from me [Westerlund]: 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
The eight Russians were released at around 12:30 Moscow time, protest organizers Elena Kostyuchenko, told BuzzFeed by phone after her release. None were seriously injured, though she reported they police officers almost broke two of the protestors’ arms by closing the door of the cage, some were kicked by police officers while handcuffed to the cage, and one protestor was momentarily choked by a police officer placing his arm across his throat.
She was not formally charged, she said, because she insisted on complaining about the officers’ conduct before signing a charge sheet.
For more on the story of today’s 10 arrests in Moscow and four in St. Petersburg, see “Russian police spy on LGBT activists, arrest 14.”