First tourists arrested for ‘gay propaganda’ banned from Russia for three years
Four Dutch citizens threatened, told the court will still charge them for 'propaganda' if police fix the 'adminstrative error'
Four Dutch tourists who were arrested for ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia are now banned for three years.
Despite being told they were free to go back to the Netherlands after being fined, the Russian Federal Migration Service has said they are blacklisted from the country.
A governmental spokesman said: ‘The Federal Migration Service has banned the citizens of Holland from entering the country for three years, as the declaration of their purpose of stay in the Russian Federation did not correspond to what they were doing.’
In fact, they were filming a documentary in Murmansk about the anti-gay laws in Russia.
The four was led by Kris van der Veen, a councillor for the left-wing green party GroenLinks in Groningen. He is also chairman of the foundation KGBT Groningen, which campaigns for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
The Dutch citizens had asked a 17-year-old about his views on the ‘gay propaganda’ laws signed by President Vladimir Putin at the end of last month.
They were told they had broken the law of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ propaganda among children, and questioned for eight hours.
Police then informed them they would be on trial the following day, which was later delayed.
The court date was then cancelled due to an ‘administrative error’ and the tourists were free to leave the country.
The group was fined 3,000 roubles each ($93, €70).
The tourists were also warned the court would still consider the propaganda cases at a later date if police corrected the ‘administrative error’.
Police confiscated the film shot in Russia and are still refusing to release the footage.
This was the first time foreigners had been officially arrested under the anti-gay law, which normally leads to a fine, possible prison time for up to 14 days, and deportation. A ban from Russia is unprecedented.