Angela Merkel urges Vladimir Putin to protect Chechnya gay rights


Russia offers ‘cures’ for gay people


Accusations of vote rigging at Mr Gay Mardi Gras in Knysna



Angela Merkel urges Vladimir Putin to protect Chechnya gay rights
German chancellor Angela Merkel said she raised concerns with Russian president Vladimir Putin about a reported violent crackdown on homosexuals in Chechnya during a meeting in Sochi on Tuesday.


Mrs Merkel told reporters that, following a tense round of talks with the Russian president, she asked President Putin to use his influence to protect these minority rights.


Mrs Merkel, who arrived in Sochi on Tuesday afternoon for her first visit to Russia in two years, said that she raised the issue along with other human rights concerns, including police breaking up anti-Kremlin protests and a Supreme Court ruling last month banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious group as extremist.


Mr Putin denied that Russian police had violated protesters’ rights by arresting them.


Russia offers ‘cures’ for gay people


Controversial “treatments” by psychotherapists and preachers are being offered to gay people in Russia.


BBC Russian heard accounts of so-called cures, after it emerged that gay men were being persecuted in Chechnya, a mainly Muslim republic in southern Russia.


Homosexuality is not officially considered a mental disorder in Russia.


Russia removed homosexuality from its list of recognised psychiatric conditions in 1999 – after the US had done so in 1973 and the World Health Organization in 1992.


Globally, scientists do not recognise any “treatment” of homosexuality as effective or required.


Accusations of vote rigging at Mr Gay Mardi Gras in Knysna


One of the contestants of the recent Mr Gay Mardi Gras held during the Pink Loerie in Knysna has hurled accusations that the contest was rigged.


Riaan Cheshworth-Phillips, who was crowned Mr Cape Town Pride recently, posted on his Facebook page that the votes were rigged because the winner, Juan Pinnick, turned out to be the boyfriend of last year’s winner Xander Steyn.


Xander was one of the judges, but he declared his conflict of interest to the other judges and did not vote for Pinnick.


Organiser John-Louis O’Neill countered the accusation by saying that the voting was fair and that the contest was meant to be fun.


Chesworth-Phillips has subsequently deleted the post after railing against the poor organization of the event.


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