A gay man was allegedly tortured to death in Russia, raising fears of an increase in anti-gay sentiments in the country.
The 23-year-old man was found naked in the courtyard of an apartment building in the southern city of Volgograd on Friday morning. He suffered numerous injuries across his body and genitals and had been sodomized with several beer bottles.
Russian officials said it was clear the gay man had been tortured.
“He was raped with beer bottles and had his skull smashed with a stone,” Natalia Kunitskaya, a spokeswoman for the Volgograd region branch of the Investigative Committee, told AFP.
Though Russian officials have been criticized for failing to acknowledge attacks against gays, law enforcement officials did label the gay man’s killing a hate crime. Officials arrested two men, a 22-year-old and a 27-year-old, in connection with the killing.
Russian media reported that the two men started beating the victim when he told them he was gay.
As a whole Russia remains slow to take action against homophobia and at times seems to condone it. There are almost no public figures who are openly gay, and Russian parliament has proposed a law banning “homosexual propaganda” among minors.
Homosexuality was illegal in Russia until 1993, and it was not until 1999 that it was removed from the list of recognized psychiatric disorders.
More recently, President Vladimir Putin introduced a measure that would only allow heterosexual couples to adopt children. Under the regulations, foreign same-sex couples will no longer be able to adopt orphans from Russia.
The move is said to be in response to several other nations, including the UK, France, and the United States, moving toward legalizing gay marriage.
In the case of the gay man who was tortured and killed, the Moscow-based Investigative Committee said they could not comment on motives of the suspects.