First activist convicted under St Petersburg anti-gay law

Gay rights campaigner Nikolay Alexeyev is satisfied with judge's decision, saying he will now press for the cancellation of the law

First activist convicted under St Petersburg anti-gay law
05 May 2012

A Russian gay activist has become the first to be convicted under the controversial anti-gay law in St Petersburg.

The accused said he was satisfied, as the sentence will now allow him to press for the cancellation of the law itself.

The law, which makes people criminals if they discuss homosexuality in public, was instated in late February 2012.

Gay rights campaigner Nikolay Alexeyev was fined the maximum amount of 5000 rubles (£104, $168, €128) for an individual. He was prosecuted for ‘spreading homosexual propaganda’ among minors.

He said the judge opened a ‘Pandora’s box’, and Alexeyev pledged to appeal against the decision. He says if necessary, he will go to the European Court of Human Rights.

Alexeyev, 34, a lawyer, was charged for holding up a banner outside the city hall that read ‘Homosexuality is not perverted. What’s perverted is hockey on grass and ballet on ice’.

He said his conviction was ‘propaganda to minors’ even though there were no children around him, and said police gathered witness statements from people sitting in a nearby park who had not even seen the poster.

Alexeyev had previously unsuccessfully campaigned for the right to hold a Gay Pride parade in Moscow.

The law, which was signed by Governer Georgy Poltavchenko, effectively prohibits public discussion of LGBT issues. Similar rules have also been introduced in the country’s Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma regions.

One of the biggest LGBT organisations in St Petersburg, Coming Out, has blasted the anti-gay hate law.

Polina Savchenko, director of Coming Out, said: ‘This radical law undermines the great legacy of our city’s past and future.’

She added: ‘This law installs a culture of censorship in what was once Russia’s most cosmopolitan city and is a huge blow to the freedom of expression in Russia. At a time when people all over the world are opening up and coming out, this law puts Russia back in the closet.’  

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Singapore anti-gay pastor behind petition targeting health ministry

A prominent church pastor has finally claimed responsibility for an anti-gay petition which demands the health ministry review its online brochure on sexuality for failing to warn against the 'homosexual lifestyle'
Christian B&B owners who banned gay couple won’t back down, go to Supreme Court

Christian B&B owners who banned gay couple won’t back down, go to Supreme Court

Saga of the Cornwall couple continues as they deny being homophobic, and say they would have refused a double room to a straight unmarried couple
No thumbnail available

Vietnam government scraps gay wedding fines

Gay couples will no longer be fined for getting married, but Ministry of Justice says this is not implicit approval of same-sex marriage
No thumbnail available

Gay icon Cher urges fans to dump Donald Trump

Believe singer pushes Macy's to stop business with real estate mogul Donald Trump after he attacked the re-election of pro-gay President Barack Obama
No thumbnail available

Rick Santorum warns of polygamy and says conservatives need to 'reclaim' marriage from liberals

'... It’s hard to make the argument that any two people or any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married'
No thumbnail available

Lesbian penguins discovered at Israeli zoo

A pair of Black Footed Penguins at Israel’s Ramat Gan Zoological Center have been revealed to be a female same-sex couple after they were blood tested by a veterinary student
Gay marriage now legal in all 50 US states

Gay marriage now legal in all 50 US states

In historic ruling, US Supreme Court rules there is an absolute right to marriage equality
No thumbnail available

My gay city: Anthony Duran parties with Elizabeth Taylor and Lady Gaga in LA

The Hollywood local shares some insider tips on how to get the best out of his home town.
No thumbnail available

Long-time menace to gay men arrested in Delhi

Blackmailer who targeted around 100 gay men over 10 years arrested in Delhi, India
No thumbnail available

Tennis fans complain after hearing 'gay points' at Wimbledon

Misheard words from a Wimbledon commentator have sparked online complaints from David Ferrer and Andy Murray fans