News (World)

Russian court tosses ‘gay propaganda’ conviction of teenage boy

Russian teenager Maxim Neverov has won his appeal against a charge of sharing gay “propaganda.”

“I am glad that justice has triumphed. The court approached the examination of evidence very scrupulously,” said Artem Lapov, the lawyer for Neverov.

Neverov, a 16-year-old, was charged on the 24th of July with violating the law in Russia when he shared photos of shirtless men on the Russian social media network VKontakte.

The law bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Neverov is, of course, also a minor.

The administrative offense report stated that Neverov had shared photographs “of young men whose appearance (partly nude body parts) had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations according to this expert opinion,” according to the Russian LGBT Network website.

Neverov was not allowed to consult his lawyer when the above report was filed, and refused to testify as a result.

Related: Most Russians think there’s a secret LGBT group trying to undermine their society

In August he was found guilty of sharing “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships,” and fined 50,000 rubles, the equivalent of $760.

Biysk City Court of the Altai Territory upheld his appeal this Friday, after his lawyer argued against “numerous procedural violations” by the police and court.

“As a result, the court used the principle of the presumption of innocence and came to the conclusion that Neverov’s guilt in committing the offense was not proven,” said Lapov. “On the basis of this, our complaints were satisfied, and the decision of the Commission on Juvenile Affairs was cancelled.”

Neverov feels that police monitored him after he attempted to organize a performance of the play “Gays for Putin” last May. He had contacted administrators in Biysk, requesting 12 event permits in conjunction with the performance.

These included an attempt to hold a rally for the recognition of President Putin as a saint as well as a rally in defense of the rights of all gays by the name of Vitali.

Vladimir Putin enacted the law against “gay propaganda” in 2013, leading authorities to ban the pride flag and shut during pro LGBTQ events countrywide.

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