Reacting to the news that Russia’s Ministry of Justice has initiated proceedings to legally recognize the “international public LGBT movement” as extremist and ban its activities in the country, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:
“This is a deeply cynical move aimed at dehumanizing and persecuting the entire LGBTI community. Sadly, in Russia’s prevailing climate of rampant state-promoted homophobia, it does not come as a surprise.
“If enacted, this would leave any LGBTI person in Russia at the mercy of arbitrary measures from the authorities. It would make any step in defence of LGBTI rights a crime. Individuals could be thrown in jail on baseless charges of extremism if the state simply deems them to be part of a so-called “international public LGBT movement”. Even symbols such as the rainbow flag could be proscribed for being extremist.
This is a deeply cynical move aimed at dehumanizing and persecuting the entire LGBTI communityMarie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia
“Life in silence and in fear of humiliation and imprisonment – this is the price that the state wants to impose on countless LGBTI people in Russia. This disgraceful move by the Ministry of Justice must be withdrawn immediately. Moreover, all homophobic laws passed in the last decade must be repealed, and those affected by them must receive fair compensation.”
The Ministry of Justice’s petition is scheduled to be heard on 30 November in the Supreme Court in closed-door proceedings.
Recognizing an organization as “extremist” carries severe legal consequences for everyone involved in its activities. Its “organizer” may face up to 10 years in prison under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. Under the same article, those who participate in the activities of such organizations face criminal liability – and face from two to six years in prison.
Being on the “extremist” list would entail a ban on the organization’s symbols. Anyone found displaying these symbols risks administrative arrest of up to 15 days under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences. 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.