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British LGBT activist Peter Tatchell arrested in Moscow after protest in Red Square | Football News

Last Updated: 14/06/18 7:21pm

British LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested by Russian Police in Moscow and released on bail on the opening day of the World Cup.

Mr Tatchell was detained for what Russian police described as an illegal protest as he took part in a solitary demonstration near the Red Square to bring attention to human rights abuses against gay men in Chechnya.

Moscow Police said that he has now been released after being charged with breaking the law on public meetings. Tatchell is due to appear in court on June 26.

A spokesperson for the UK’s Foreign Office told Sky News: “We are concerned to learn that Peter Tatchell was arrested in Moscow. Consular staff have spoken to Mr Tatchell and have confirmed that he has been released.”

Amnesty International released a statement after Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in their opening game condemning Tatchell’s arrest as “outrageous”.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s director, said: “The response to Peter Tatchell’s protest is straight out of the Russian authorities’ playbook – protest in a high-profile location like Red Square, hold a placard criticising Putin or speak in support of LGBTI right in public, and face immediate arrest by the police.

“In present-day Russia, there’s not right to peacefully protest, no right to publicly stand up for LGBTI people, and certainly no chance of staging a street protest about last year’s sinister gay crackdown in Chechnya.

“It’s no surprise to hear that Mr Tatchell has been arrested solely for exercising his right to peaceful protest. We understand he has now been released but will stand trial for this ‘offence’. This is outrageous – all charges against him should be dropped immediately.

“Peter Tatchell’s arrest should not distract attention from his message. The Russian authorities should explain what steps have been taken in earnest to investigate reports of a ‘gay purge’ in the Chechen Republic.”

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