Elton John has issued a scathing statement against the treatment of the gay population in Russia.
John is calling on Russian president Vladimir Putin to overturn the infamous "homosexual propaganda" bill that recently passed in Russia. He says the law has encouraged a "vicious homophobia" across the country and "given extremists the cover to abuse people's basic human rights."
The 66-year-old singer deplores "the effect that this law has had by promoting misunderstanding and ignorance."
He cites examples: "The people I met in Moscow - gay men and lesbians in their 20s, 30s and 40s - told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would 'cure' them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up. . . . Everyone shared stories of verbal and physical abuse - at work, in bars and restaurants or in the street - since the legislation came into force last June."
John's statement, which was published on his website, comes as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6.
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