Russia: Criminal Prosecution of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov Demanded

Solitary Gay Pickets General Prosecution Headquarters in Russia’s Capital Following Ban
Criminal prosecution of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov demanded

Legal difficulties prevented more than one person picketing the office of the General Prosecutor in Moscow yesterday, International Day Against Homophobia.

So Nikolai Alekseev, the organiser of Moscow Gay Pride, staged a one-man picket calling for the criminal prosecution of Moscow MayorYuri Luzhkov.

There was no interference from the watching police as he displayed a placard reading saying “No one repealed Article 149 of the Criminal Code. Mayor Luzhkov’s homophobia should be prosecuted”.

Originally, plans were to have a ten-person picket. But the Prefecture of the Central Area of Moscow banned the event for “security reasons”. The letter from the Prefecture said that the aim of the planned event “provokes negative reactions of society and the conduct of the event can lead to group violations of public order which creates threats to the security of the participants”.

However, not a single protestor against the picket came to the office of General Prosecution yesterday, which, say gay activists, proves that Moscow authorities did not evaluate the threats properly.

“The General Prosecution office is obliged to conduct an investigation on our request and give us a motivated reply,” Mr. Alekseev said last night. “If the criminal case is not started, we will appeal the decision to courts.”

On Friday, Moscow Pride organisers said during a press-conference at the Independent Press-Centre in Moscow that they had sent a letter to the General Prosecutor asking to prosecute Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov for systematic unlawful prevention of public actions of homosexual people in Russia’s capital.

During the press-conference, Mr. Alekseev said that “in case Russia had a system of cumulative criminal punishment, Moscow Mayor would already deserve at least 2,000 years in jail only for violations of the right to freedom of assembly”.

It was confirmed yesterday that the third Gay Pride in Moscow will take place at the end of May, even if the event is banned by the authorities.



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