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First Russian gay activist to be convicted under ‘propaganda’ law

A 24-year-old was attacked and arrested by his own parents at a solo protest in July
Dmitry Isakov, a 24-year-old, could become the first to be officially convicted under Russia's federal propaganda law.

A gay rights activist is set to become the first person convicted under Russia’s new ‘propaganda’.

While several have been charged and others have been convicted in individual regions, Dmitry Isakov’s legal team has said he could be the first to be convicted and could face a huge fine under the federal ban.

Police in the central Russian city of Kazan filed charges against the 24-year-old over his solo protest earlier this year.

On 30 July he held up a sign, reading: ‘Being gay and loving gays is normal. Beating gays and killing gays is a crime!’

The charges were filed on the basis of a complaint from a teen in the northern Arkhangelskaya province who had seen a picture of Isakov’s protest online, according to Gay Russia.

The teen, Erik Fedoseyev, said he had been forced to file the complaint by his father, who hates LGBT people because his ex-wife, Fedoseyev’s mother, left him for a woman.

It was Isakov’s own parents who were responsible for his original arrest in July.

As the bank employee held his sign, his father helped police bring him to the ground as his mother snatched the poster from his hands.

His parents then helped the authorities escort their son to the car where he was taken to the police station.

After his arrest, Isakov posted on his social networking site VKontakte page he was free the following day, but was suffering from injuries he got from the police.

‘My left leg is badly swollen, my left knee is twice as big as the right,’ he said. ‘Even an old granny with a crutch would overtake me on the street.

‘I’ve never noticed before how many steps I have to overcome.’

Nikolai Alekseev, one of Russia’s most prominent gay rights activists, said he had come to Isakov’s aid.

He said: ‘I am providing him full legal support like with the case appealing the bans of his public events in Kazan.

‘This case is now at the Supreme Court of Tatarstan. This is real activism, not stupid bumpings of Russian vodka or boycotting Olympics.’

A week before Isakov’s arrest, four Dutch tourists became the first foreigners to be charged under the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

They were set free due to an ‘administrative error’, were fined 3,000 rubles each, ($93) and were banned from entering the country for three years.

Kazan will host the FIFA World Cup in 2018.           

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