Nikolai Alekseev

Russian activist Nikolai Alekseev is reportedly safe and back in Moscow following his abduction by the authorities on Wednesday last week.

Alekseev was detained at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport as he was about to board a flight to Switzerland. His whereabouts were unknown for a number of days.

On Saturday he posted a status update on Facebook announcing that he was safe.

“My dear friends, I just entered Moscow. Thank you to all of you for support. All I want now is to brush my teeth and to shave. I will try to describe all that happened tonight! I never thought so many people care for me, it brings tears to my eyes.”

Other Russian activists have confirmed that they met with Alekseev over the weekend.

Alekseev has since published an account of his abduction. He claims that he was harassed at the airport for over two hours by airport security staff, who refused to explain their actions.

Despite being in the international section of the airport, which is outside Russian jurisdiction, he was then taken away in a car to an undisclosed location where he was searched.

By using the GPS software on his i-pad, which the authorities had not taken away from him, he was able to discover that he was in a police station in the city of Kashira.

He was kept waiting for 24 hours without explanation. Eventually his abductors began to urge him to abandon his case laid with the European Court of Human Rights concerning the ban on gay Pride events by Russian authorities.

Alekseev claims that he was then presented with a document stating that he would halt further action in the case and was advised to sign it. He refused to do so.

He was later taken to other locations including a dark, narrow road, where he feared he might be killed, and an office of the Department of the Interior in Tula.

During the experience, the abductors deprived him of sleep and refused to provide Alekseev with a lawyer or any representation. He was also not charged with any crime.

Eventually he was dropped off on the outskirts of Moscow where he caught a bus into town.

Alekseev said that intends to sue “Domodedovo airport and its aviation safety department, which violated international law and forcibly returned me to Russian jurisdiction.”

He has also demanded a “complete investigation into the basis of crimes against me in the form of illegal deprivation of freedom and kidnapping”.

Russia has been criticised for its lacklustre human rights record when it comes to LGBT people. Moscow’s Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, has repeatedly banned attempts to hold Pride events in the city and has called gays and lesbians “satanic.”

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