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Russian man blinded by anti-gay shooting speaks out

Amnesty International have called on the Russian authorities to arrest the masked men responsible for the violent attack in St Petersburg
A young Russian was left half blinded after a terrifying shooting in St Petersburg.
Photo by Dmitry Chizhevsky.

A Russian gay man who was blinded in one eye after a homophobic shooting has spoken out on his ordeal.

One of the two gun-wielding masked men shot Dmitry Chizhevsky, 27, in the eye during a terror attack on a social event for young LGBTs in St Petersburg on Sunday (3 November).

The young activist, as well as female advocate Anna Prutskova, was hospitalized.

Speaking on his VK page, Chizhevsky thanked all of his supporters for their help after the attack.

‘Thank you all for your support,’ he said. ‘Doctors said the bullet was left inside but can be removed with surgery.

‘There’s a good chance I’ll no longer be able to see with that eye. Even with surgery it won’t be as it was before, but I may be able to see at least something.’

About a month ago several homophobic pages on the Russian social network VK called for action against the LaSky HIV charity center, where the attack took place.

In a statement from LaSky, they said the attack was a ‘result of escalation of homophobic climate in the city.’

‘This attack aimed at the office of organization for prevention of HIV and STDs is an indication that pogrom-makers progressed from attacking activists during street rallies to attacks on closed private social events.’

When police originally came to investigate, they said they could find no evidence of a crime. They later confirmed the incident and said they would be looking to charge suspects on hooliganism.

Frustrated, Chizhevsky said: ‘Damn it! I might have a disability and they call it hooliganism?’

The activist has said he is looking into hiring a private detective, believing they may do a better job in gathering evidence than the police.

‘I can still see homophobia,’ he said. ‘I have another eye for that.’

The attack has been slammed by Amnesty International, who have said the masked assailants must be brought to justice.

Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International, said: ‘The Russian authorities must seek out, investigate and prosecute all those responsible for these violent attacks.

‘Russian President Putin has publicly said the country would welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex - LGBTI - activists at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but such pledges ring hollow in the face of these on-going hate crimes.

‘This was a serious violent assault that has caused severe injuries and could have resulted in death.

‘Those responsible must face serious consequences to the full extent of the law.’

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