Moscow Jury Acquits Man Of Murdering Gay Man Despite Confessing To Attack

A jury in a Moscow court has acquitted a man charged with murder after stabbing to death a gay man that the accused has admitted to attacking with a knife.

Artyom Lapov, a lawyer from the gay rights group Stimul, said on February 7 that jurors at the trial at the Basmanny district court found Anton Berezhnoi not guilty of murder in the beating of Roman Yedalov, instead convicting him of a lesser charge of assault.

Investigators say Berezhnoi attacked Yedalov and his partner, Yevgeny Yefimov, at a railway station in Moscow on June 29, 2019, while verbally insulting them over their sexual orientation.

Yefimov suffered minor injuries in the attack.

Berezhnoi admitted during the trial to attacking the couple, but said that he did not intend to kill Yedalov. He said the victim died after falling on the knife used in the assault.

The court is scheduled to hand down its sentence on the lesser charge in the coming days.

Although homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, anti-gay sentiment among many Russians remains strong and attacks against homosexuals across the country occur on a regular basis.

With reporting by Novaya Gazeta and Meduza
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