Russian authorities seldom blame violence on homophobia, the New York Times notes, but police say it was behind the vicious murder of a 23-year-old man in Volgograd. A group of men were in a park drinking on Thursday when they heard the victim say he was gay, say investigators, per Radio Free Europe. What the men allegedly did next is horrific: bashed the man's skull with a rock to the point where his face was unrecognizable and sodomized him using bottles. He "died on the spot," according to police.
Three men have been arrested; one was a former classmate of the victim. They face up to 15 years in prison. The crime, worries a top Russia gay-rights activist, "will be investigated as one caused by a trivial row, and the homophobic motive will gradually disappear from all the documents." The attack comes after Russia banned "homosexual propaganda."