The first minor to be fined under Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ laws has filed an appeal.
16-year-old Maxim Neverov was fined for posting pictures of partially nude men embracing each other on social network site Vkontakte.
A commission on juvenile affairs found Nverov guilty of ‘promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors’.
He was fined 50,000 rubles, the equivalent of around $760.
Neverov spoke out against his prosecution last week, before filing the appeal. ‘All people’s rights are being violated in Russia, not just LGBT people’s,’ he said.
‘And I believe LGBT are just people, so there is no reason to fight for LGBT rights separately from everyone else’s,’ Reuters reported.
‘Gay propaganda’ banned since 2013
Russia has a notoriously woeful LGBTI rights record.
The country has banned so-called ‘gay propaganda’ since 2013, which is often used to justify clampdowns on the LGBTI community.
However, Neverov was the first minor to be fined under the controversial law. Prior to this, the law had been used to clamp down on Pride marches and detain LGBTI rights activists.
Svetlana Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian LGBT Network, said this case was different because Neverov had not been actively campaigning for LGBTI rights.
‘Usually (the authorities) prosecute people for marching in the streets with rainbow flags,’ Zakharova said.
Earlier this month, Russian authorities closed down an LGBTI Pride event in St. Petersburg.
In June, police detained activist Peter Tatchell for protesting LGBTI rights near the Kremlin.
In 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Russian gay propaganda law breached European treaty rules, violated people’s right to freedom of expression and discriminated against LGBT people.
The Russian authorities said that the court’s ruling was unjust.
Russia is ranked Europe’s second least LGBT-friendly nation by ILGA-Europe. Homosexuality was criminalized in the country until 1993, and was classed as a mental illness until 1999.