Two gay men in Russia who were married in Denmark this month have had to flee their home country after facing charges and death threats.
Yevgeny Voitsekhovsky and Pavel Stotsko returned to Russia after their January 4 wedding and had stamps recognising the marriage added to their passports, The Guardian has reported.
They have denied the charges.
The two men were reportedly intimidated and harassed, with police storming their Moscow apartment and cutting off their electricity and internet.
Russian MP Vitaly Milonov said the couple’s marriage stamps were not legally valid and compared them to “stinking goats”.
The interior ministry said their passports would be annulled and that the clerk who stamped the passports would be fired.
Stotsko posted on Facebook that since sharing photos online of their passports, he and his family had received threats.
Gay rights group Russian LGBT Network said the couple had been intimidated by police since returning home.
“Police blocked the exit from the apartment where the couple live, as well as prevented friends and acquaintances from coming to support them,” they said.
The couple were reportedly told that police could not guarantee their safety, which was interpreted as a veiled threat.
Voitsekhovsky and Stotsko have now fled Russia.
Hate crimes against LGBTI people in Russia have doubled since the government introduced laws banning gay “propaganda” in 2013.
The region of Chechnya has allegedly been engaged in an anti-LGBTI purge for more than a year, with gay and bisexual men reportedly detained and even killed in at least six concentration camps.