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Court finds 16-year-old charged with ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia innocent

Court finds 16-year-old charged with ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia innocent

Maxim Neverov

The teenager arrested for spreading ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia has won his appeal.

In July, 16-year-old, Maxim Neverov, was charged with ‘promoting non-traditional sexual relations’ for publishing several photos on the page on the social media network VKontakte.

In August a local court found him guilty of  ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’. The court issued him a 50,000 rubles (US$760) fine as punishment.

But Neverov appealed and today the Biysk City Court of the Altai Territory upheld his appeal.

The teenager believed law enforcement began monitoring him after a ‘Gay or Putin’ performance he organized in May this year.

As part of this performance, he sent the request for 12 event permits the administration of Biysk in southern central Russia. Some of the events included, a rally for the recognition of Putin as a saint and a rally in defence of the rights of all gays named Vitali.

Neverov’s lawyer Artem Lapov celbrated the win.

‘I am glad that justice has triumphed. The court approached the examination of evidence very scrupulously,’ he said.

‘All documents were examined in detail, the witnesses were interrogated. Information was also requested from the social network VKontakte.

‘As a result, the court used the principle of the presumption of innocence and came to the conclusion that Neverov’s guilt in committing the offence was not proven. On the basis of this, our complaints were satisfied, and the decision of the Commission on Juvenile Affairs was cancelled.

Gay propaganda

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, introduced the gay propaganda law in 2013.

Since then, LGBTI people have been the targets of persecution and violence. Authorities banned the rainbow flag and routinely shut LGBTI events.

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