Russian LGBTQ activist murdered after alleged death threats
A prominent gay rights activist was murdered in St. Petersburg this week after her name was listed on a site that “hunts”. According to friends and fellow activists, she had been allegedly receiving death threats and had been the victim of violence previously.
Local police found Yelena Grigoryeva, 41, dead near her home Sunday, with multiple stab wounds and signs of strangulation, BBC News reports.
In a Facebook post Monday, friend and activist Dinar Idrisov said Grigoryeva had recently “been the victim of violence” and had often been threatened with murder.
“Every person has the right to life,” Idrisov wrote. “And the state of Russia was obliged to guarantee her the right to life.”
According to Idrisov, Grigoryeva and her lawyer have tried several times to report the violence and threats against her to law enforcement, but no action was taken.
The Investigative Committee of Russia did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
Idrisovis said Grigoryeva was actively concerned for her safety. “I learned today that Lena asked a mutual friend to take care of her cat in the event of her death when she was threatened with murder,” he wrote.
On Friday, Grigoryeva shared a Facebook post from the Russian LGBT Network highlighting a “homophobic game” website aimed at anonymously threatening members of the LGBTQ community in Russia.
According to the post, the website was created in 2018 to “hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people” and has been blocked several times, but law enforcement agencies have not taken action against its users.
The Russian LGBT Network said the site gathered personal data of LGBTQ people and activists, including photos and addresses. However, it said it believes the site was created to bully the community and incite hatred, rather than facilitate attacks.
Following her death, the Network said on Facebook that Grigoryeva’s name had appeared on the site, titled, “The Saw.”
“We have prepared some brutal and dangerous presents for these LGBTQ activists,” the message allegedly read.
According to Russian news site Fontanka, a 40-year-old male suspect has been detained in connection with Grigoryeva’s murder.
According to the BBC, Grigoryeva also demonstrated against Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, the poor treatment of prisoners and several other human rights causes.
In 2013, Russia enacted laws banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” and blocking same-sex couples from adopting children. A 2014 Human Rights Watch report documented an increase in violence and harassment toward the LGBTQ community in Russia since the laws were passed.
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