A criminal investigation has been launched following last Saturday’s Moscow Pride which was infiltrated by violent right-wing extremists and stamped out by police. The investigation centers on an attack on journalist Elena Kostyuchenko who sustained injuries to her head during the event.
From The Moscow News:
“A criminal case has been launched over the attack on Novaya Gazeta journalist Elena Kostyuchenko at Moscow’s gay parade, for causing deliberate bodily harm with malicious motives,” Dmitry Kolbasin, spokesman for human rights group Agora, told Interfax.
Tayana Lukashevich, an investigator at the Kitai-Gorod police station, told Kobasin about the charges on Wednesday and promises to give further information on Friday.
Police announced that after questioning Kostyuchenko they were planning to interrogate a suspect, who had been detained and bailed.
Novaya Gazeta’s press secretary also said that a criminal case is underway, adding that Kostyuchenko’s diagnosis has not yet been confirmed.
There may or may not be concussion, “but all the same Lena has received a very painful injury. She has sustained damage to her ear, as a result of which she currently has problems with her hearing and is undergoing treatment,” the press-secretary said, NewsMSK reported.
Writing for UK news site Pink News, human rights defender Peter Tatchell, who attended the event, alleged that Neo-Nazi groups were used by police to break up the parade. So far there has been no comment from police officials regarding this allegation.
There remains mounting pressure on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to denounce the police clampdown and throw his support behind future pride marches.
It was hoped that Moscow officials would approve plans for the Pride event this year as a new administration took over. However, what appeared to be the go ahead for a Pride event last month turned out to be false — Moscow officials banned Pride citing, as the previous administration had, that they were unable to ensure the safety of participants.
This follows an October 2010 decision in which the European Court of Human Rights ruled unanimously that banning Moscow Pride events, as was the case between 2006-2008, breached three separate articles of the European Convention which guarantees freedom of assembly, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation, and the right to effective legal remedy. Russia appealed to the Grand Chamber, but the Grand Chamber upheld the ruling.
To read our past coverage of Moscow Pride, please click here.