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‘Calm down’ – Russia says rights will be respected at Sochi Games

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Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Moscow, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Moscow, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

MOSCOW (AP) — 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.”

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.”

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

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