World News

Russia Arrests 2 In First LGBTQ Criminal Case Under New Legislation

Russia Arrests 2 In First LGBTQ Criminal Case Under New Legislation

Accused can face up to 10 years in prison, says Russian Court (Representational)


A Russian court on Wednesday ordered a bar administrator and its art director to be placed in custody, accusing them of organising an “extremist organisation” under new legislation criminalising the LGBTQ community.

It is the first criminal case of its kind since Russia banned the so-called “international LGBT movement” in November, amid an accelerating crackdown on the community.

“The court chose a preventive measure for the art director and administrator of the ‘Pose’ bar,” the Orenburg tribunal said.

They will remain in custody until May 18 and face up to 10 years in prison, according to the court in southwestern Russia.

The tribunal earlier accused the two suspects of “promoting non-traditional sexual relations among the visitors of the bar”.

Law enforcement had raided the bar in March, and videos of humiliating detentions of some of the club visitors circulated online.

“The accused, people of non-traditional sexual orientation, acted in premeditation with a group of people… who also support the views and activities of the international public association LGBT,” the court said on Telegram.

Russia has publically only put out a vague description of what it calls the “international LGBT movement”, paving the way for the prosecution of anyone protecting LGBTQ rights or simply identifying with the community.

The director of the “League of the Safe Internet” and figurehead of the ultra-traditional faction pushing for repressive laws, Ekaterina Mizulina, hailed the criminal proceedings on Monday.

“This is the first criminal case in Russia after the decision of the Supreme Court to recognise LGBT as an extremist movement,” Mizulina said.

‘What they feared’ 

Mizulina said that “local activists” told the police about the club, amid a climate of denunciations of dissident voices.

The arrests come amid an ultra-conservative turn that has accelerated since the Kremlin launched its Ukraine offensive.

“What LGBTQ persons and human rights activists have feared since the end of last year has finally come to pass,” Amnesty International had said, on Tuesday.

Lawmakers in 2013 banned people from promoting “non-traditional” relationships to children and have piled pressure on liberal corners of society since.

The Kremlin has further ramped up conservative rhetoric since launching its military assault on Ukraine, casting the conflict as a battle against the West and its liberal values.

In December 2022, Putin widened the 2013 law to criminalise any positive public mention of LGBTQ people or relationships.

In July last year lawmakers then banned medical intervention and administrative procedures that allowed people to change gender.

And in November the Supreme Court passed the “LGBT movement” ban, under which there have been several administrative proceedings, resulting in fines and short detentions.

“The international community must call on Russian authorities to review the homophobic Supreme Court ruling and immediately stop persecution of LGBTI persons,” Amnesty said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button