Russia’s State Duma has confirmed LGBT athletes won’t be exempt from arrest during the Winter Olympics in Sochi under the country’s anti-gay laws.
The federal law prosecutes any person or organization who ‘promotes’ homosexuality to children.
The International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had ‘assured’ them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.
But that was questioned on Tuesday when Gay Star News reported Vitaly Milonov, one of the lawmakers behind the federal law, as saying the government couldn’t decide selectively when the law should be enforced.
And yesterday, GSN reported Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko’s warning gay athletes who speak out about homosexuality would be arrested and prosecuted.
Now Interfax reports the chairman of the Duma Committee on Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Affairs, Igor Ananskikh, has confirmed this position.
The Gay Russia site quotes him as saying: ‘Participants in the Olympics may be persons with different sexual orientations, but by law they can not engage in campaigning.’
GSN has again contacted the International Olympic Committee to ask if they believe the Russian games will be safe for LGBT athletes, visitors and Russians.
Instead of a boycott, LGBT activists in Russia and outside are calling on the IOC to support a gay safe zone and give a positive, visible LGBT presence at the games, in defiance of the government.
But with the games taking place from 7 to 23 February 2014, little time now remains to find a solution.