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  4. RUSSIAN FEDERATION: LGBT ACTIVIST CHARGED WITH HOMOSEXUAL PROPAGANDA

RUSSIAN FEDERATION:
LGBT ACTIVIST CHARGED WITH HOMOSEXUAL PROPAGANDA

Update info:
22 Sep 2017
Country:
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Subject:
Evdokia Romanova
Gender m/f: f
Period:
24 Oct 2017
Distribution date:
22 Sep 2017
UA No:
209/2017

Evdokia Romanova, an LBGT activist from Samara, Russia was charged with “homosexual propaganda” on 26 July for reposting links to the international Youth Coalition for Sexual Reproductive Rights website and to articles that promoted LGBT equality. She will stand trial on 18 September.

On 26 July, LGBT activist Evdokia Romanova, an active member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) from Samara in Central Russia, was called to her local police station to act as a witness for another case the police were investigating. However, on arrival she was questioned and charged under Article 6.21, part 2 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors using Internet”. She will stand trial on 18 September. If found guilty, she could be fined up to 100,000 roubles (USD 1,750).

In violation of the law, Evdokia Romanova was denied legal representation when questioned and charged by the police. The police also unlawfully refused her and her lawyer access to the casefile, denying them a chance to learn the grounds on which she had been charged. Evdokia Romanova and her lawyer were only able to get access to the casefile materials on 5 September, nearly 6 weeks after she was charged, and only after the case had been referred to Kirov District Court in Samara. Evdokia Romanova’s casefile reveals that the charges most likely relate to her membership of the YCSRR and that her “crime” was the reposting of links to the YCSRR website and media publications, including a Guardian article on the same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland and a Buzzfeed article on an exhibition in St. Petersburg on Russian LGBT teens, on her personal Facebook and Russian social media network, VKontakte. Four of the posts date back to 2015 and another to May 2016. The police deemed links to the YCSRR’s own publication, a campaign calling for youth activists to campaign for LGBT rights, to be the most incriminating and the police Centre for the Prevention of Extremism even ordered two experts – one on linguistics and another on psychology, to conduct an examination of the publication. Both experts concluded that the publication contained “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, with the one who conducted the linguistic examination concluding it was aimed at “forming non-traditional sexual orientation”, “creating appealing image of non-traditional sexual orientation” and “was forming an image of equal value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations for society.”

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) was formed at the Hague Youth Forum in February 1999 and organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Population Foundation (WPF) and the Dutch Council on Youth and Population. A number of young people participating in the forum were particularly concerned with the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents and young people. These individuals established the YCSRR to support and sustain young people’s efforts towards the realization of their sexual and reproductive rights.

The law prohibiting “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” – also known as the ‘homosexual propaganda law’, was passed in Russia in June 2013. It introduced Article 6.21 into the Russian Code of Administrative Offences providing hefty fines for those who, according to the authorities, promoted “non-traditional sexual relations”. Amnesty International believes that the law violates freedom of expression and has been campaigning for its abolition. The law has had a negative impact on the work of LGBT organizations and individual LGBT activists alike. Since its introduction in 2013, several people, including LGBT activists Nikolay Alexeev, Nikolay Baev and Alexey Kiselev, were fined under this law. In January 2014 these three activists submitted a case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) claiming that their rights under the European Convention of Human Rights had been violated. In June 2017, the Court ruled that Russia violated Article 10 (right to freedom of expression) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention and that it must pay compensation to the activists. Russia is appealing the decision.

UA: 209/17 Index: EUR 49/7085/2017 Issue Date: 12 September 2017

Take action

Please write immediately in Russian or your own language:

  • Calling on the Russian authorities to drop the charges against Evdokia Romanova as they stem solely from the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression;
  • Urging the authorities to abolish the “homosexual propaganda law” as it contravenes with Russia’s international obligations to respect the right to freedom of expression;
  • Urging the authorities to end their targeting of the LGBT community in Russia through discriminatory laws, policies and practices.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 24 OCTOBER 2017 TO:
Prosecutor of Samara Region
Konstantin Nikolaevich Bukreev
ul.Krasnoarmeiskaia, 32
443030, Samara Region
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 (846) 333-54-28, 332-29-44
E-form (in Russian: http://www.samproc.ru/feedback/feedback.php
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Russian Federation
Fax: +7495 987 58 41/ +7495 692 17 25
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

And copies to:
Human Rights Ombudsman for Samara Region
High Commissioner Olga Dmitrievna Galtsova
Ul.Mayakovskogo, 20
443100 Samara Region
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 8463 374983
Email: Ombudsman.Samara@yandex.ru

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.