Moscow Authorities Ban Gay Picket In Front of Iran Embassy
On Monday 14 July Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow denied to Moscow Pride organizers permission to hold a picketing to denounce executions of homosexuals and minors in Iran in front of its Embassy in Moscow planned for Saturday 19 July. The action was supposed to gather around 30 activists.
Organizers notified Moscow authorities about their picketing last Friday in full accordance with Russian law on public demonstrations but officials replied that they are unable to provide security during the event.
Russian gay activists already picketed Iran Embassy on 19 July 2006 and 19 July 2007. The actions were part of the international campaign against executions in this Islamic state. In the last two years Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow gave permission to hold the events and there were no incidents in the course of the events.
Manifestations on 19 July are linked to the anniversary of the executions of two teenagers who were accused of homosexual behavior and publicly hanged in July 2005. The news shocked the international community.
Homosexual people in Iran are being systematically prosecuted and harassed. Islamic laws of the country bans homosexual behavior with penalties up to capital punishment. The aim of gay activists is to attract attention of the society to the breaches of human rights in Iran and to the issue of death penalty in general.
Organizer of Moscow Gay Pride and initiator of the picketing in front of Iran Embassy Nikolai Alekseev said on Monday that “Moscow authorities once again breached Russian Constitution and Russian legislation on public events. Without any reasons they banned another action of sexual minorities and deprived them of their right to protest”.
Nikolai Alekseev suggested that “this time it is more than obvious that the denial to conduct the picketing was fully discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation. We applied to the Prefecture with the identical notification to the ones we used in the last two years adding one word. Before we said that we were protesting against executions of minors and this time we said that we will protest against executions of minors and homosexuals. This was enough for the authorities to ban the event”.