Stop the persecution of a talented poet!

Our Association is deeply worried by the events in Donetsk, Ukraine, where the police persecutes Igor Bobyrev for being gay. We know Bobyrev for years as a talented author. Bobyrevs poetry has been published in the best Russian literary journals: Neva, New Youth, Arion, Semitones, and many others. It is a pleasure for us that Igor also has been participating in the literary contests of our Association.

A few months ago, Igor, who is openly gay, became the victim of a provocation by the Donetsk police: having solicited online a nude photo of his, the police officers arrested him, brought to the police station, where he was accused in spreading pornography, experienced homophobic abuse, and badly beaten.

Igor was released on bail, which was provided by his mother. He documented his injuries from beating with a doctor. After the police learned about it, they pressed him to declare in writing that he has no objections to the police regarding his arrest and abuse.

A few days ago, three plain-clothed men, who introduced themselves as police, forced their way into Igors apartment and, based on private data in online social networks, accused him again in spreading pornography. Without a search warrant and preventing Igors contacting his lawyer, the alleged policemen erased information on the hard drive of Igors computer and threatened to arrest him. They suggested Igor to destroy all his records in the online social networks, as well as to date only women (quoted by a Live Journal entry).

We are outraged with and ask to stop the ongoing homophobic actions of the Donetsk police, victimizing and persecuting poet Igor Bobyrev, which is the violation of human rights and privacy of a law-abiding Ukrainian citizen.

Interview of T. Bonch-Osmolovskaya to radio SBS, 5 October 2010