Badpuppy Gay Today

Thursday, 30 April 1998

LATVIAN GAY COP BASHED

Greek Gays Flunk AIDS Survey

By Rex Wockner
International News Report
 

LATVIAN GAY COP BASHED

A Latvian gay cop who was fired last year after coming out of the closet in a newspaper interview was seriously beaten by bashers April 16 along with his lover.

The Riga-based Homosexuality Information Center (HIC) believes the attack on Gatis Bugoveckis and his partner may have been related to the group's complaint on Bugoveckis' behalf filed with the National Human Rights Office and to Bugoveckis' many appearances on TV programs.

The couple was jumped by three Russian-speaking men in central Riga at about 9:15 p.m. The assailants shouted "Fucking queers" and "We're going to break your balls" as they beat them.

Bugoveckis' lover managed to phone police from his cell phone and all five men were taken to a police station then released. According to HIC, "After Gatis expressed his intention to submit a report for initiating a criminal case, he was strongly 'advised' by the policemen that it is better and in his interest not to do that."

Bugoveckis filed the complaint anyway. At press time, he was recovering from a concussion and multiple bruises.

Meanwhile, on April 17, the Human Rights Office ruled in Bugoveckis' favor in his discrimination case.

"There is enough evidence, including audio recordings, to demonstrate that it was a case of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation which is a violation of human rights," the office said. "Paragraph 28 of [the law 'On Police'] does not require heterosexual orientation as a requirement for serving the police, but instead requires education, physical preparedness, health, ability and willingness to carry out police duties, knowledge of the Latvian language, and absence of criminal records.

"It must be considered," the judges wrote, "that violence or any discrimination against an individual because of their sexual orientation, in Latvia as a democratic country which is ruled by law, is a violation of the state's principles and laws. All people living in Latvia are equal in their duties, rights and the realization of those rights regardless of differences among them. Only the state, in specific cases which are defined by laws, or when an individual through his activities harms other individuals' rights and freedoms, can restrict that individual's rights."

The ruling apparently carries no legal weight but HIC said "the opinion has a significant moral importance for the lesbian and gay community in Latvia."

"This is the first official statement in Latvia where discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is considered as a violation of human rights contrary to the Latvian and international law," the group said. "The Latvian National Human Rights Office supports our proposal to include sexual orientation in paragraph 69 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes discrimination on the grounds of race or nationality. The Office submitted a separate proposal on such inclusion to the Parliamentary commission dealing with the creation of a new Criminal Code."

GREEK GAYS FLUNK AIDS SURVEY

Greece's Homosexual Initiative of Thessaloniki is disturbed by results of an AIDS survey it conducted in gay bars and online.

Among the results: Less than half of gay men know that HIV- antibody tests are inaccurate in the weeks immediately after one becomes infected, that people are most infectious in the earliest stage of HIV infection, and that petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) dissolves condoms.

Also, a third of those surveyed believe that pulling out before ejaculation greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission and that HIV-positives can bareback together without concern.

Only 49 percent of those questioned had safe sex every time they had sex in the past year and 5.2 percent have unsafe sex regularly.

A third of the men let others ejaculate in their mouths and 28 percent had never taken an HIV test.


Contributing to this week's report: Mads Christensen, Jess Durfee, Stephen Hunt.


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