Tireless human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who is one of my heroes,is standing down as Green Party candidate for Oxford East, Pink News.co.uk reports.
In a statement, Tatchell said that brain injuries received at the hands of Zimbabwian President Robert Mugabe's bodyguards and Russian neo-nazis have seriously affected his health.
He would be challenging the sitting MP Andrew Smith (Labour) for the seat.
Peter Tatchell said: "It would not be right for me to seek election if I could not do the job of an MP to the high standards that I want and that Oxford East voters have a right to expect.
"If I was elected, I could manage the parliamentary duties or the constituency work. But my health is not strong enough for me to do both...
"I don't regret a thing. . . My beatings had the positive effect of helping draw international attention to the violent, repressive nature of the Russian and Zimbabwean regimes. I'm glad of that."
In response to supportive comments on Harry's Place calling for him to recieve a peerage, Tatchell said: "I would not accept an OBE or a peerage (not that I am likely to be offered one any time soon). Sorry, I don’t agree with political patronage."
Oxfordshire Green Party chair Sid Phelps told PinkNews.co.uk: "We're sad about this, it's a real shame. He's almost a martyr to the green and human rights causes. It's a real shame but what can you do? People's health must come first. He's got hurt due to political activity really."
Russian gay rights campaigner and organiser of Moscow Pride Nikolai Alekseev also spoke to PinkNews.co.uk, saying: "Peter has been a strong supporter of our cause in Russia since day one. His words of support always materialised in his physical presence in all our events. He only missed one as his doctor did not want him to travel in 2008 when he was already suffering from the 2007 beating."
I hugely admire Peter Tatchell's courage and his determination to express his views and stand up for others. To paraphrase Elton John "You have the grace to hold yourself when all around you crawl."
The world needs a hero like Tatchell. I wish him a rapid and full recovery.
Peter Tatchell interviewed by Elizabeth Day for the Guardian