Russia bans LGBT movement as ‘extremist’
Russia’s top court has banned the “international LGBT movement” as an “extremist organisation” at the behest of the Russian government in a move widely condemned by human rights and LGBT+ organisations.
Judge Oleg Nefedov approved the Russian justice ministry’s request after a four-hour hearing yesterday, which was held behind closed doors with no media presence, Meduza reports.
The court order refers to the “international LGBT movement” without naming specific organisations or people.
Amnesty International said it is likely to criminalise any activism in defence of the human rights of LGBT+ people and even any public association with the LGBT+ community.
Under Russian law, an extremist movement’s “participants” may face up to five years in prison and its “organisers” and donors up to 10 years. Being designated “extremist” also entails a ban on an organisation’s symbols, and repeatedly displaying these symbols can lead to up to 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.
Marie Struthers, Amnesty’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia director, said: “This shameful and absurd decision represents a new front in the Russian authorities’ campaign against the LGBTQ+ community.
“The ruling risks resulting in a blanket ban on LGBTQ+ organisations, 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.
“There is little if any doubt that it will lead to the persecution of LGBTQ+ activists, undoing decades of their brave and dedicated work, while threatening to inspire and legitimise whole new levels of violence against LGBTQ+ people across Russia.
“We call on the Russian authorities to review this ruling immediately.
“The international community must stand in solidarity with the Russian LGBTQ+ community, demanding an end to these oppressive actions and safeguarding the principles of equality, freedom and justice for all.”