Prominent LGBT Activist Charged Under Draconian Law

Prominent Russian LGBT activist Sergey Alexseenko and long-term partner of Civil Rights Defenders was found guilty under the archaic “propaganda of homosexuality” law, which, was introduced in 2013. The law bans the distribution of propaganda to minors, which promotes non-traditional sexual relationships, and its introduction followed several administrative sanctions in various regions throughout Russia before being passed at a Federal level.

Sergey Alexseenko the former director of Murmansk-based Maximum, is an NGO that provides legal advice, psychological services and support for LGBT persons in the city of Mumansk. After being branded as “Foreign Agents” in February by Russia’s Ministry of Justice, Maximum closed down its operations. He was fined 100,000 Rubles (1,200 Euro) even though he was no longer head of the organisation

”The judge did not take into account the fact that a protocol regarding administrative offences was drawn up against the head of a non-existing organisation, nor were the procedural rules infringed upon,” said Sergey Alekseenko.

Multiple violations took place throughout the investigations. The case concerned the Director of the organisation Maximum and the protocol was files on 12 December. However, the organisation had ceased to exist on 10 October, which meant that Sergey Alexseenko was no longer the Director of the organisation. The investigation had also lasted approximately one year while the initiation of the case against Maximum took place in January 2015 meaning the statute of limitations had expired under Russian law. Nor had the parents or the adolescents who had implicated Sergey Alexseenko ever been questioned.

“Civil Rights Defenders condemns this draconian decision and calls on the Court of Appeals to immediately reverse the verdict. The law that the court verdict is based on is in conflict with international human rights standards on non-discrimination and should be abolished. The authorities have waged a steady campaign of harassment against the LGBT community in Russia by targeting LGBT civil society organisations with the intention of shrinking the space they can operate,” said Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eurasia, Civil Rights Defenders​

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