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Russian court upholds ban on gay pride in Moscow for the next 100 years

Friday, June 8, 2012
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MOSCOW — The Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld a district court’s decision to ban gay parades in Moscow for the next 100 years, dismissing an appeal by the LGBT advocacy group, “Moscow Pride/Gay Russia.”

Earlier, the Tverskoy district court ruled that a decision by the Moscow municipal government to ban gay pride parades from March 2012 till May 2112, was lawful.

The ban came after gay rights activists in Moscow submitted requests on August 23, to the City Hall to hold gay rallies up until 2112.

The activists sought to use a loophole in the law that only determines the deadline for submitting rally applications (no later than 30-45 days before the event), but does not state how far in advance events can be submitted.

Nikolay Alekseyev, one of the leaders of the Russian LGBT community and organizer of gay pride events, told LGBTQ Nation that he intended to appeal the decision in the Moscow City Court Presidium, and that if the highest Russian instance also rules against him, to address the European Court of Human Rights.

Russia is a signatory nation to the European Human Rights Charter and Declaration.

Alexeyev won the first ever case at the European Court of Human Rights on LGBT human rights violations in Russia. In October 2010, the Court issued a verdict affirming that the 164 bans on gay pride marches and events between 2006 and 2008 were in violation of the constitutionally protected right to freedom of assembly.

In April 2011, the ECHR decision in Alekseyev v. Russia came into force after the Russian government lost its appeal in Strasbourg.

“They refuse our requests every time, but in Strasbourg they recognize these rulings as unlawful. But time does not stand still, we ask for a new event and again they refuse us,” Alekseyev noted.

“It’s a matter of grave concern that Moscow’s municipal government has again marginalized the city’s gay community,” said Jasmine O’Connor, a spokesperson for Stonewall UK. “It’s another sign of the dire situation for Russia’s 8.5 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people, whose human rights are routinely abused by the government and police.”

“We’ll continue to press the British government to do all it can to confront homophobic human rights abuses worldwide,” O’Connor said.

In May, a total of 40 people, mostly gay rights activists, were detained in Moscow after they attempted to hold two demonstrations demanding the right to hold a gay pride parade in the Russian capital city.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department deferred comment, and instead referenced a statement released in February regarding the American position on LGBT rights in the Russian Federation:

“We are concerned by proposed local legislation in Russia that would severely restrict freedoms of expression and assembly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and indeed all Russians. [...] We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens.”

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