A Russian gay activist says he will sue actor and former Orthodox priest Ivan Okhlobystin, who earned international headlines for saying that he’d like to burn all gays alive in ovens. Via Russia’s official news agency, RIA Novosti:
Nikolai Bayev said in a post on his Facebook account Wednesday that he did not expect his suit against Ivan Okhlobystin to succeed in Russia, but that he hopes to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Bayev seeks 30,000 rubles ($850) in damages, his lawyer Andrey Zaytsev said. Okhlobystin reacted in typically combative fashion on Twitter. “The very existence of the lawsuit offends my religious sentiment,” Okhlobystin wrote. Offending the feelings of believers has since June been made a criminal offense in Russia, punishable by up to three years in prison. Okhlobystin, 47, was embroiled in scandal last month after saying during a chat with fans that he would “put [gays] all alive in the oven… it’s a living danger to my children.” The actor refused to apologize and later petitioned the Kremlin to ban “sodomy.” No response followed. He was sacked as creative director of Yevroset mobile phone retailer over his gay-bashing. But Okhlobystin got a similar job at clothes maker Baon within days.
Bayev said he is also asking local authorities to charge Okhobystin under Russia’s “vaguely worded” extremism law, which is usually used against Islamist and far-right nationalists. The above-linked story does not make it clear, but it appears that the lawsuit was filed on the grounds of Russia’s law against “offending religious beliefs.”