Suspect arrested in murder of Russian LGBT rights activist

Russian investigators say they have arrested a suspect in the killing of an LGBT+ rights activist in St Petersburg.

The body of 41-year-old Yelena Grigoryeva was found on a street in July with multiple stab wounds.

The person initially detained over the killing is no longer a suspect, according to local reports.

The Investigative Committee’s St Petersburg division said the suspect who has now been cleared had been drinking with the victim when the new suspect had joined the pair. Grigoryeva had reportedly argued with the newcomer.

Human rights campaigners and local media have said the victim had received numerous death threats for her support for LGBT+ rights.

“An activist of democratic, anti-war and LGBT movements Yelena Grigoryeva was brutally murdered near her house,” opposition campaigner Dinar Idrisov wrote on Facebook.

Russian LGBT activist murdered Yelena Grigoryeva was a victim of a website for hunting gay peopl

Yelena Grigoryeva posted a warning about the website on her Facebook page days before her death. (Dinar Idrisov/ Facebook)

According to Idrisov and the Russian LGBT Network, Grigoryeva had received multiple death threats both on and offline but authorities displayed “no noticeable reaction” to her reports.

The Guardian reports that acquaintances of Grigoryeva said her name was on a list of LGBT+ activists published by a Russian website that called on people to take vigilante action against them

Russia’s internet watchdog recently banned the website, which was designed to help users to hunt and torture Russian gay people.

The site, which was online for more than a year, encouraged users to upload the details of LGBT+ people, including their photos and addresses.

The name of the operation, “Chechnya’s comeback”, is a reference to the anti-LGBT “purge” in Chechnya.

The website charged fees for users to get access to the information to “play the game” and extorted those whose details were online, who would have to pay to have their information removed.

According to the Russian LGBT Network: “A homophobic group began to operate in Russia, organising the hunt for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people, in the spring of 2018.”