Activists fined in Arkhangelsk for ‘promoting’ homosexuality
Russian gay activists imprisoned and then fined under ‘promotion of homosexuality’ law which they were protesting against
Alexey Kiselev protesting next to Children's Library in Arkhangelsk. Photo GayRussia.Ru
A court in Arkhangelsk has fined three Russian gay activists for ‘the promotion of homosexuality’ following pickets in the city last month protesting against that same new law.
The legislation banning 'Propaganda of Homosexuality to Minors' was passed by the regional parliament at the end of last year. Russian activists say it is not actually about protecting children but about silencing lesbian, gay and bisexual rights demands.
The judge, Marina Glebova fined Nikolai Alekseev, the founder of Moscow Gay Pride, Alexey Kiselev and Kirill Nepomnyashiy 2,000 roubles each (€50, $66) – the maximum penalty.
‘This is the first instance of administrative proceedings being taken on the basis of the new law in the Arkhangelsk region,’ Alekseev said today. ‘The verdict will be appealed by us in the district court of Arkhangelsk.
‘But most important will be our complaint against these provisions of the law to the Constitutional Court of Russia and then to the European Court of Human Rights.’
The three were arrested on 11 January during their separate pickets outside the Arkhangelsk Regional Children’s Library.
Alexey Kiselev, pictured, carried a placard which literally translates into English as: 'Russia takes first place in the world of teenage suicides. Among them, a huge proportion – homosexuals. They are going to take this step because of the lack of information about its nature. Deputies – infanticides. Homosexuality – it’s good!'
Today (6 February), GayRussia.eu reported that the three had been charged under Section 1 of Article 2.13 of the Arkhangelsk Oblast Law On Administrative Offences.
After the arrests, all three were taken to the police department of the Lomonosov district of Arkhangelsk, where they were detained for four hours. GayRussia.eu reports that they were treated ‘extremely well’ during their detention.
The court hearing was originally scheduled for 20 January, but was postponed for two weeks by the judge.
Actvists have taken a case against a similar law - the first ever regional law banning propaganda of homosexuality to minors in Russia in the region of Ryazan - to the European Court of Human Rights and UN Human Rights Committee. The UN already scheduled the hearing in the case for its July 2012 session in Geneva, Switzerland.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1993, President Boris Yeltsin signed a decree which repealed the law forbidding male homosexuality. Starting from 2006, Russian gay rights activists started to celebrate this date by attempting to organize an annual gay rights march known as Moscow Gay Pride. The first edition was banned and marred with violence. It was reffered as the first Russian Stonewall.
This day was founded in 2004 by French Academic Louis-Georges Tin to mark the anniversary of the declassification of homosexuality from the list of disease by the World Health Organization. Russian LGBT have been celebrating this day every year since 2005 under the leadership of Project GayRussia which was itself founded on May 17, 2005. GayRussia is Russia's coordinator of IDAHO.
Following Moscow in May 2009, Minsk was the second capital to host the Slavic Gay Pride. The March was banned and marred with violence but it did not prevent two dozens of Pride organizers from Moscow, Minsk and St. Petersburg to march over 300 meters waiving a 10meters long rainbow flag. 11 participants including some of the organizers were brutally arrested by police forces.
2009 marked the launch of GayRussia's campaign for the opening of same-sex union of gays and lesbians in Russia. While the Constitutional Court already expressd the opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman, activists believe that the lack of partnership or marriage for gay couples is a strong point to impose legislative changes via a decision of the European Court of Human Rights.
The five-judge panel of the Grand Chamber of the Court rejected the appeal of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Pride Ban case. The decision given on October 21 is final. By repeatedly banning Gay Pride Marches as well as other LGBT themed public action, Russia breached the European Convention on Human Rights.