As a result of recent anti-gay legislation and increases in anti-gay attacks, Russia has found itself at the center of extensive controversy as of late. Part of this controversy has surrounded the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. LGBT rights advocates are already calling foul to the U.S. government and to NBC. Some are even calling for a boycott. Unfortunately, none of this controversy is likely to die anytime soon, now that Vocativ is releasing the story of Martiros Demerchyan, a construction worker from Sochi who was assulted, brutalized, and forcibly sodomized by police. According to Vocativ and organizations such as Human Rights Watch, this incident is indicative of patterns that have become "a frequent complaint in Sochi, a once sleepy resort town on Russia’s Black Sea coastline."
The incident in question took place after a pay dispute, which took place after the Okhotskaya Building Companys allegedly underpaid Demerchyan approximately 20,000 rubles (or $600 USD). After compaining to his supervisor, he was accused of stealing electrical wire from his job. Demerchyan subsequently offered to let authorities search his home for the "missing" wire, which seemed to satisfy his supervisor. After being told to "come by and pick up your pay," Demerchyan was then ambushed by police and taken to the police station, where they attempted to intimidate him into signing a confession for the wire theft. When he refused, police allegedly donned boxing gloves and beat him until he lost consciousness. Vocativ shares what happened next:
"When Demerchyan awoke, he again refused to confess to the crime he says he did not commit. The police then allegedly bent him over, shoved his face to the ground and sodomized him with a red fireman’s crowbar. 'I screamed,' Demerchyan says. 'I said, ‘I’ll sign whatever you want, just please don’t torture me anymore. I can’t bear any more of this.'' Demerchyan’s relative and co-worker, Sergei Krbashyan, accompanied him to the station, and was beaten as well, though less severely. Reportedly, Krbashyan said that he’d rather be shot than have the crowbar used on him."
After the incident, Demerchyan was taken to a private medical center. According to medical reports, his injuries corrobarate the story he shared: a concussion, two cracked teeth, and “intestinal injuries obtained from penetration by a foreign object.”