St Petersberg – This is the horrifying moment an 18-year-old Russian woman was punched to the floor for ‘looking like a lesbian’. According to Yekaterina Lysikh was walking holding her friend’s hand in St Petersberg on Monday when the group was targeted by a group of seven teenage boys.
Ms Lysikh and her friends were followed into a nearby cafe after the boys asked them ‘are you lesbians?’ Once inside the cafe the boys threatened the group and demanded their phones and wallets, according to local media.
CCTV captured the moment Ms Lysikh ran at the group in an attempt to defend her friends, scaring three of them out of the shop. She can be seen exchanging blows with one of the boys who attempts to kick her twice before fleeing as she throws something at him.
As Ms Lysikh turns to go back to her friends, a fifth boy viciously hits her in the side of the head, causing her to collapse to the floor. He then runs away with the rest of his friends.
Ms Lysikh had to be taken to the hospital where she was treated for a concussion and bruising to her face, and required stitches to her lip. Police arrested four of the group on Wednesday, according to local paper Fontanka. One boy named only as Denis and who is in the seventh grade – meaning he is likely aged between 12 and 14 – was charged with grievous bodily harm. Another two – 16-year-old student Vladislav and unemployed 19-year-old Nikita Kovalev – were charged with the same offence.
The fourth, who was not identified, will go on trial as a witness. Police said that the three boys who were charged had admitted they didn’t like the way Ms Lysikh and her friend were holding hands.
Russia has been repeatedly criticised by world leaders and rights groups for its anti-LGBT policies. In 2013, Putin infamously signed the country’s ‘gay propaganda law’ banning material that ‘promotes homosexuality’, saying it was to protect children.
Moscow has also been repeatedly accused of ignoring abuses of LGBT people both at home and among allies. Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, has been accused of locking people suspected of being gay up in camps.
At the beginning of the year, Russia’s LGBT Network said about 40 people were imprisoned for being gay and said two of them died under torture.
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