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Russia’s sports minister says rights of all athletes will be respected at Olympics

A gay rights activist chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the Russian consulate in New York, Wednesday, July 31, 2013.
A gay rights activist chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the Russian consulate in New York, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

MOSCOW – Russia’s sports minister says the rights of all athletes at the Winter Olympics in Sochi will be respected and urges international critics of the country’s new anti-gay law to “calm down.”

Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko says “rest assured that all the athletes and all the sports organizations should be relaxed.”

He says “all the rights will be protected.”

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Mutko raised concern last week among gay rights advocates with comments that the law would be enforced during the Sochi Games in February. He said Thursday that, in addition to the law, Russia has “a constitution that guarantees to all citizens rights for the private life and privacy.”

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The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

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