Russian politician: Athletes and spectators may still face arrest at Sochi Olympics

Vitaly Milonov says government has no right to suspend use of anti-gay legislation

Athletes and spectators could still be arrested at the Sochi Olympics for violating Russia’s gay-propaganda laws, says a Russian lawmaker.

“If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority,” Vitaly Milonov told Interfax via Gay Star News.

The International Olympic Committee issued a statement last week saying they have “received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

Milonov, a member of the Legislative Assembly of St Petersburg who co-sponsored the legislation, however, says that he has heard no word from the Russian government suggesting the law would be suspended.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation on June 30 barring “propagandizing homosexuality among minors,” effectively banning all public displays or celebrations of gay pride. The law also allows the government to detain visitors suspected of pro-gay activities for 14 days.

Bars across the world have dumped Russian vodka from menus in protest of the law, and demonstrations at Russian embassies are scheduled for Aug 3.

Niko Bell

Niko Bell is a writer, editor and translator from Vancouver. He writes about sexual health, science, food and language.

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