Persons of the Week: Feliks Glyukman, Islam Abdullabekov

posted 19 Jun 2016, 11:00 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Jun 2016, 11:08 ]
On 13 June 2016 a gay couple, Feliks Glyukman and Islam Abdullabekov, were detained by police after attempting to express their condolences to the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. RFE/RL reports that Glyukman and Abdullabekov were detained by police as they laid flowers, candles, and a large sign saying 'Love wins' outside the US embassy in Moscow, and if charged, they face up to 10 days behind bars and a minimum fine of 20,000 rubles ($303) for allegedly holding an unsanctioned picket. Glyukman told RFE/RL: 'I think it’s a disgrace, to put it mildly. We took our placard out of a bag and walked up to the memorial, we wanted to put it on the ground along with flowers and candles. But when we put the placard down a police officer came up, picked it up, and tried to return it to me. One of his colleagues, a young woman, joined him. When we refused to leave, they grabbed us by the arm and took us to their vehicle.' The two men were released three hours later after their lawyer, Sergei Panchenko, intervened. Footage of the detention captured by RFE/RL correspondent can be seen here

Human Rights First reports: 'This incident comes as no surprise to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Russia, who face ongoing mistreatment due to various anti-LGBT laws in the country. Russia bans protests over the rights of LGBT people and outlaws "homosexual propaganda." This includes the distribution of rainbow flags, LGBT symbols, or similar materials. Homophobia is widespread and LGBT people suffer discrimination and targeted violence. In wake of the tragic attacks at Pulse, thousands of people across the globe have come together to express their condolences and solidarity with Orlando. The incident in Russia is a reminder that the persecution of LGBT people is rampant throughout the world. Combating homophobia in all its forms is essential to ensuring love wins everywhere and no more lives are needlessly lost.'

Photo: RFE/RL

Diana Munasipova and Claire Bigg, 'Gay Couple In Moscow Face Prosecution Over "Love" Tribute To Orlando Victims,' RFE/RL, 15 June 2016
Courtney Thomas, 'Russian Couple Arrested for Honoring Orlando Victims,' Human Rights First, 17 June 2016