Gay activist released after World Cup protest

MOSCOW (AP) — A British LGBT activist who was detained near Red Square in Moscow for protesting against Russia’s abuse of homosexual people has been released from jail.

Peter Tatchell stood outside the Kremlin on Thursday holding a banner critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people.”

Several minutes later, Tatchell was approached by several policemen who told him his protest was not authorized. He was led away and taken to a police car.

About two hours later on Twitter, Tatchell said he’d been released and was to appear in court on June 26. The Interfax news agency said he was charged under a statute that carries a penalty of up to 20,000 rubles ($330).

Dozens of gay men have spoken about being tortured in secret prison facilities overseen by the allies of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov denied the accusations and has claimed there are no gays in Chechnya.