Russian Gay Activists Appeal to the European Court Over Banned Public Actions in Ryazan
They claim compensation of 100,000 Euros
In 2006 Ryazan, a city 180 km from Moscow, became the first and only region of Russia to adopt a law that forbids any form of propaganda of homosexuality to minors.
In March 2009 LGBT Human Rights Projects GayRussia.Ru initiated a campaign asking the law to be repealed after two of its activists were arrested by the police for showing posters “Homosexuality is normal” and “I am proud to be homosexual” near the local children’s library. A local court sentenced Nikolai Baev and Irina Fet to a fine of 1,500 Roubles each (approx. 33 euro). Later the appeal court confirmed the decision.
The same day the activists informed the city authorities of their intention to host two public actions in Ryazan.
The first one was a picket, scheduled on 4 April aimed to ask the repeal of the law of 2006. The second was a march in support for tolerance and respect for the rights and freedoms of homosexual people in Russia planned for 11 April.
Both applications were turned down by the city authorities on the basis that such events would contradict with the law of 2006 as they could be seen by children.
The authorities further stated that the events could be seen by the population as “an insult to their morals and religion” which creates threat to the security of the participants.
On 23 April a local judge said that the decision of the authorities was lawful. The appeal of gay activists was also rejected on 1 July.
“This regional law breaches the Russian Constitution and our campaign is directed at making it repealed either via a decision of the Constitutional Court or the European Court” said Nikolai Alekseev in April.
On 5 August gay activists appealed the bans of their events in Ryazan to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) asking for the compensation of 100,000 Euros.
After Moscow, Tambov, Saint Petersburg and Liski, Ryazan is the fifth Russian city to officially ban a public action organized by the LGBT community.
To date, several cases concerning the bans of Moscow Pride 2006, 2007, 2008 as well as other public events in Moscow and Tambov are awaiting consideration by ECHR.