Russia issues first fine under anti-gay propaganda law
A well-known gay rights activist has been fined in Arkhangelsk for violating Russia’s federal law banning propaganda of homosexuality among minors.
Nikolai Alekseev and several other activists were finned 4,000 rubles ($120), making them the first people to be penalized under the controversial law.
Russia adopted the federal law prohibiting propaganda of unconventional sexual relationships among adolescents at the federal level was adopted in June 2013.
Alekseev and activist Yaroslav Yevtushenko organized a single picket at the entrance of the children's library building in Arkhangelsk, where they were detained by police. Previously the City Council refused to approve the organized protest because of the law prohibiting the promotion of non-traditional relationships among minors.
"We did not plead guilty in court and now intend to appeal the ruling in October's regional court in the city of Arkhangelsk within the allowed 10-day period,” Alekseev said.
Alekseev has already been punished for such an action, but only on the basis of the regional law adopted in St. Petersburg. He was fined in May 2012 for 5,000 rubles for a single picket.
Alekseev appealed the St. Petersburg court’s decision in Russia’s Constitutional Court, however, the highest court found no contradiction between the prohibition of propaganda and the Constitution.
"The said ban is due to the fact that such propaganda can harm minors because of their age and mental underdevelopment, and [the ruling cannot] be interpreted as allowing the restriction on freedoms and rights of citizens solely on the basis of sexual orientation" the Constitutional Court ruling said.