Monday, November 25, 2013

World News

Russian LGBTQ night club targeted again
By Brody Levesque | MOSCOW -- A popular all night LGBTQ dance club venue in the Russian capital city suffered another attack late Saturday night when unknown assailants released an as yet identified noxious gas inside the main portion of the club; Central Station. There were approximately 500 patrons in the venue at the time of attack according to a spokesperson for the Moscow Militia (Police).
According to the club's general manager, Andrew Leszczynski, his staff immediately turned on a smoke removal machine which eliminated the gas from the premises in a couple of minutes. Several people sought medical attention from first responders to the scene but refused to go to hospital.
“Today is another provocation against our club arranged by unknown persons. We believe that they are connected with the building owner," said Leschinsky. 
“They are spaying the gas inside the club premises, thereby trying to express their extremist views against LGBT community, which likes to visit our club."
The club, located in Moscow's Basmanny District in center city not far from the Kremlin, had recently been the scene of another attack November 16, when two gunman opened fire outside of the club's main entrance after its security personnel denied them entry. No one was injured in that attack which left the club's door damaged by rounds from the gunmen's handguns. The pair fled the shooting scene but the attack was caught on the club's video surveillance footage.
A member of the club's staff- who asked to not be identified- told LGBTQ Nation Monday that the club which opened in 2003, has been under "seemingly increasing siege" since the passage of the anti-gay propaganda law this past June. 
According to Leszczynski the building, which was owned by state-run monopoly, Russia Railways, headed by Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin- a close political ally and an appointee of Russian president Vladimir Putin- transferred ownership last December. The building is held by an investment holding company Verdivino Investments Ltd., incorporated in Nicosia, the Republic of Cyprus. He added that in October, the investment company had posted two oversize signs with arrows pointing to the main doorway of the club that read "gay club entrance."
Leszczynski says that the club, which is owned and affiliated with a St. Petersburg venue, has asked Moscow Milita officials for stepped up assistance and protection.
Attacks against LGBTQ Russians in the capital and across the nation are on the rise with Russian Queer activists placing the blame on the newly enacted law. A Militia official agreed and acknowledged to LGBTQ Nation Monday that police are still pursuing suspects in another attack last month against another centre city LGBT venue, 7freedays club, where 20 masked attackers had entered brandished handguns and beat club goers with beer and wine bottles.
"An inquiry has been launched into the nightclub attack, CCTV footage from the venue has been seized and that from nearby streets is being examined," police said.
Andrei Obolensky, an promoter told Russian Media Outlet RIA Novosti that approximately 50 people were inside celebrating “coming out day.” 
“They pulled a gun on the bouncers as they entered the club. Then they shouted ‘You wanted a show?’” Obolensky told RIA Novosti. “People were bleeding; they had been hit in the head with bottles.”
RIA Novosti reported that three people were hospitalised for the injuries they sustained in that attack and two were later released. However, a female victim who had suffered a serious eye injury, was still being treated at the time of reporting the incident.

Man sentenced to 9 years for consensual gay sexual relations
LIMBE -- A 35-year-old Cameroonian was sentenced to nine years in prison for breaking that nation's laws against homosexuality last Wednesday. Cornelius Fonya had been accused of the sexual molestation of a 14 year old boy after the youth's family accused him of rape last year.
During the course of the trial proceedings, it was determined that the youth was actually 19 years old and legally an adult at the time and that the same-sex relations were consensual.
Fonya had been incarcerated since Oct. 29, 2012, after a mob seized him and hauled him to the police station, had posted bail but a judge denied the motion after the mother of the alleged victim claimed that her son had become mentally ill because of sexual encounter with Fonya.
LGBT activists from CAMEF, the Cameroon Empowerment Association for Outreach Programs, decried the fact that Fonya’s conviction was not supported by witnesses’ testimony in court. The alleged victim and his family never appeared in court and never testified against Fonya. Instead, the judge reportedly relied on the youth’s statement to police.
A spokesperson for CAMEF said after the conviction, 
“The legal system in Cameroon has proven once more the homophobic context in which we are currently living in, where it is enough for one to get imprisoned for his or her perceived or actual sexual preferences." 
“We need to do something so as to put an end to this continuous human rights violation suffered by members of the LGBT community here in Cameroon.” 
“CAMEF has been working hand in hand with barrister Walter Atoh, who is actually on this case so together we can put an end to this present situation. We hope together with your support, we can do something for Cornelius.”
The country’s penal code stipulates a maximum sentence of five years for those found guilty of same-sex sexual acts between adults but, legal observers are noting that the sentence imposed instead reflects the maximum penalty for a conviction of same-sex relations with a minor.
Activists from CAMEF noted that the LGBTQ community of their coastal region in southwest Cameroon faces extreme homophobia with many often beaten in the streets.
This last July prominent Cameroonian gay rights and HIV campaigner Eric Ohena Lembembe was brutally murdered in his home, just days after speaking out against increasing violence against the country’s LGBT community.
A LGBTQ activist from CAMEF told British freelance journalist Colin Stewart;
"CAMEF has been advocating for the interest of the LGBT community in this part of the country and we have been attacked by the homophobic inhabitants in this part, accusing us of encouraging homosexuality because homosexuals are ‘animals that deserve a death sentence and not worthy of living!" 
"Members of the LGBT community are often beaten in the streets, others stoned to death in the past and others arbitrarily detained on the basis of their perceived or actual sexual orientation then sent to prison after being sentenced by a judge with no evidence of same-sex practices."