In response to a ruling by the Supreme Court of Russia recognizing the “international public LGBT movement” as “extremist,” and effectively outlawing any public LGBTI-related activity, Marie Struthers, Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, said:
“This shameful and absurd decision represents a new front in the Russian authorities’ campaign against the LGBTI community. The ruling risks resulting in a blanket ban on LGBTI organizations with far reaching violations of the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, as well as the right to be free from discrimination. It will affect countless people, and its repercussions are poised to be nothing short of catastrophic.”
The ruling risks resulting in a blanket ban on LGBTI organizations with far reaching violations of the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly, as well as the right to be free from discriminationMarie Struthers, Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International
“There is little if any doubt that it will lead to the persecution of LGBTI activists, undoing decades of their brave and dedicated work, while threatening to inspire and legitimize whole new levels of violence against LGBTI persons across Russia.
“We call on the Russian authorities to immediately review this ruling. The international community must stand in solidarity with the Russian LGBTI community, demanding an end to these oppressive actions and safeguarding the principles of equality, freedom, and justice for all.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling recognizes as “extremist” an undefined “international public LGBT movement.” This phrase, used by the Russian Ministry of Justice, appears to target not an established, clearly defined group or initiative, but any activism in defence of the human rights of LGBTI people or even any public association with the LGBTI community. Recognizing it as “extremist” carries severe legal consequences for everyone involved in LGBTI-related activities or even having a known, or assumed, association with the LGBTI community. Its “participants” may face up to five years in prison, and its “organizers” and donors, up to 10 years, under Articles 282.2(2), 282.2(1) and 282.3 of the Criminal Code, respectively.
Being designated “extremist” entails a ban on the organization’s symbols. Displaying these symbols can lead to so-called administrative arrest of up to 15 days under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences, and a repeat “offence” is a crime under Article 282.4 of the Criminal Code, with a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment.
Those facing investigation or prosecution for being involved in “extremist” activities typically have their bank accounts blocked, and face employment restrictions and restriction of other rights, including being banned for various periods of time from standing in elections at all levels.