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First tourists arrested in Russia for ‘gay propaganda’

Three Dutch people were arrested for the anti-gay law in the northern city of Russia, and told they had 'violated the rules of stay' - a court date will follow tomorrow
In Murmansk, Russia, the first tourists to be officially charged with gay propaganda may be deported from the country.

Four tourists were arrested in Russia for ‘gay propaganda’ today (21 July), making them the first foreigners to be officially charged under the anti-gay law.

In Murmansk in North Russia, four Dutch citizens were detained by police.

One of those arrested is 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.

It is believed Van der Veen was making a documentary about gay rights in Russia and had been asking children about their views.

One of those arrested is Kris van der Veen, who is 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.

Nos says the four were making a documentary about gay rights in Russia and had been questioning youngsters about their views.

The four have been released pending their court appearance and Van der Veen used Twitter to say they are being helped by the Dutch consultate.

- See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2013/07/four_dutch_nationals_arrested.php#sthash.xQee8jEf.dpuf

While the four Dutch tourists were being held in the police station, authorities said they had violated the ‘rules of stay in the territory of Russia’.

They were told they had broken the law of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ propaganda among children, which was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin last month.

It is believed they were free to go after being charged with the offence, and at the time of writing, was told to appear in court in less than six hours.

The hearing is scheduled for 2.30pm Moscow time on 22 July. The Russian LGBT Network has said they are providing legal assistance.

The General Consulate of the Netherlands and international human rights organizations are being kept informed.

If convicted of the law, the four people could be heavily fined, held for up to 14 days in Russian prison and then deported back to the Netherlands.

UPDATE: The tourists are free and will not be charged due to an 'administrative error'. Find out more here.

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