Killer who stabbed a gay man in Russia cleared of murder

A killer who stabbed a man and attacked his partner outside a gay bar was acquitted of murder earlier this month in Russia.

President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said he opposed same-sex marriage only weeks after the killer of a gay man was cleared by a jury.

A killer was acquitted in Russia earlier this month, even though he stabbed a gay man who later bled to death.

Roman Yedalov left a gay club in Moscow with his partner shortly before receiving a knife to the heart. The 47 year-old was attacked by Anton Berezhnoi, a war veteran with a criminal record.

Yedalov’s partner, Yevgeny Yefimov, said he had not experienced any violence or hostility until the incident outside the club last June. Yefimov was checking a taxi-hailing app when a man began to shout homophobic slurs at him after which he was dealt a blow to the head.

Berezhnoi had knocked down both men and fled. When Yedalov stood up, he was stabbed and ultimately killed.

Despite admitting guilt – Berezhnoi said Yedalov “fell on the knife” – he was acquitted by a jury. The killer will only be under house arrest for 23 months in Russia, despite murdering a gay man.

“No prison sentence can bring Roman back,” Yefimov said. “But I want justice.” The couple’s lawyer blamed the verdict on the wording of a question the jury had to take into consideration.

Not long after the case closed, Russian president Vladimir Putin made it clear that he would never legalise same-sex marriage.

Last Thursday, Putin spoke at a commission discussing changes for the Russian constitution. He said the constitution would keep gender-specific language to illustrate the country’s opposition to same-sex relationships.

“As far as ‘parent number one’ and ‘parent number two’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: As long as I’m president this will not happen,” he said.

Putin – who has been leading Russia since 2000 – said he would also consider changing the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

The Russian government has long opposed LGBT+ rights; in 2013 they introduced a law which prohibited “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”.

Official statistics on LGBT+ hate crimes are not kept by the Russian government, but an advocacy group, Stimul, recorded 13 hate crimes against LGBT+ last year. Analysts say actual figures are most likely much higher, as most incidents are not reported.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

For 30 years GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community. We want to go on providing this community hub in print and online, helping countless individuals across the country, but the revenue from advertising across the media is falling.

GCN needs your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from only €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.