MOSCOW, August 27 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators have searched apartments belonging to prominent Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev Tuesday, against whom a criminal case has been launched over his Twitter remarks addressing senior lawmakers.
“Investigators from Russia's Investigative Committee have visited Alekseyev at his place of residence to carry out a search sanctioned by a court,” an unnamed Committee representative said Tuesday.
Alekseyev had previously reported the search via Twitter.
The head of the children's issues committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, Yelena Mizulina, and her first deputy Olga Batalina had previously complained to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office that Alexeyev had posted offensive remarks about them on Twitter, in comments about Russia's recent introduction of a ban on “gay propaganda” to minors.
Mizulina told Izvestia newspaper prosecutors were requested to launch a criminal case on charges of “insulting a representative of authority.” That offense is punishable by a fine of up to 40,000 rubles (over $1,200) or community service.
Her deputy Batalina said she did not consider she had been offended, but was seeking to protect all lawmakers from any further insults.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on June 30 a bill banning the promotion of homosexuality toward minors.
According to that law, promotion of same-sex relationships to children is punishable by fines from 4,000 to 5,000 rubles ($122-$153) for individuals, 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($1,223-1,530) for officials, and 800,000 to 1 million rubles ($24,460-$30,570) for legal entities.
Controversy has mounted around the law, particularly abroad, prompting calls from some foreign activists for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics, due to be held in the Russian city of Sochi.