Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Dutch diplomat beaten up at home in Russia

AFP, MOSCOW

A senior Dutch diplomat at the Netherlands embassy in Moscow was beaten up at his home in the Russian capital by unknown individuals who scrawled the letters “LGBT” on a mirror, officials and reports said yesterday.

The incident comes amid growing tensions between Russia and the Netherlands over the arrest by the Russian authorities of the 30 crew of a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship campaigning against oil drilling in the Arctic.

The deputy head of the Netherlands mission in Moscow, Onno Elderenbosch, was approached at his home by men who presented themselves as electricians and then beat him up, Russian news reports said.

The intruders who broke into his flat took nothing, but scrawled in pink lipstick the letters LGBT (standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and a drawing of a heart, the Interfax news agency and the lifenews.ru Web site quoted a security source as saying.

The diplomat, 60, was not badly harmed and did not seek medical attention, the reports added.

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans confirmed the attack on his Facebook page, saying that Elderenbosch was assaulted by two intruders.

He said he had called the diplomat, “who is now doing fine.”

Dutch news agency ANP said that Timmermans would be summoning the Russian ambassador yesterday for explanations.

Tensions between Russia and the Netherlands surged last week when police in the Hague detained a Russian diplomat over accusations he was mistreating his children. The Netherlands later apologized for breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

The Netherlands has launching legal action to free the Greenpeace activists, who have been charged with piracy and face up to 15 years in jail.

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