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article image27 Nobel laureates write open letter to Vladimir Putin

By Layne Weiss     Jan 14, 2014 in World
London - Sir Ian McKellen and 27 Nobel laureates in the science and arts have penned an open letter urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to repeal the "gay propaganda law" as it “inhibits the freedom of local and foreign” LGBT communities.
In the letter, which was published exclusively in The Independent, novelist JM Coetzee, geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, chemist Sir Harry Kroto, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, and others, strongly declare their disapproval of Russia's "gay propaganda law" which activists say has led to violence and suicide among gay people.
The letter was co-written by Sir Ian McKellen, a spokesman for LGBT, and Sir Harry Kroto. McKellen and Kroto have been good friends for many years, since their "school days."
“The letter is written to indicate that many senior members of the international scientific community show solidarity with politicians, artists, sports people and many others who have already expressed their abhorrence for the Russian government’s actions against its gay citizens,” the letter states.
“Protest is never easy but we hope that by expressing opposition to the new legislation it might be possible to encourage the Russian state to embrace the 21st century humanitarian, political and inclusive democratic principles which Mikhail Gorbachev worked so hard to achieve,” it adds.
The letter has been published just weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, The AP reports.
Actor Ian McKellen, who is openly gay, spoke out against the anti-gay law last month saying the Foreign Office warned him "not to go to Russia" as the British government wouldn't be able to protect him from Russia's anti-gay legislation.
McKellen expressed disbelief at the law saying that Russia "is the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev — gay artists whose sexuality informed their work."
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