Gay and lesbian athletes could face arrest during Winter Olympics under new Russian 'anti-gay law'

Sydney, July 24 (ANI): A new anti-gay law in Russia could allow police to arrest gay and lesbian foreign athletes, even as the Australian Olympic Committee has said that it believes athletes competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will be safe.

According to news.com.au, the law, brought into effect just weeks ago, allows police to arrest tourists or foreigners whom they suspect of being gay or lesbian and is argued to go directly against the International Olympic Committee charter of non-discrimination.

The report said that Australian officials could not guarantee gay athletes travelling to Sochi would be free from persecution or arrest but they believed that the IOC charter would protect the athletes.

Under the law, passed by President Vladimir Putin, police can detain suspects for up to 14 days, and their powers will even extend towards people considered 'pro-gay', the report added.

The anti-gay law is in direct defiance of the 'Seven Fundamental Principles of Olympism', contained within the Olympic Charter, the report further said. (ANI)