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Russian court hands down largest fine to date over LGBT rights protest

Russian court hands down largest fine to date over LGBT rights protest

A Russian woman has been fined 20,000 rubles for participating in a May 25 Moscow Pride event.

Anna Annenkov and her girlfriend Elena Kostuchenko had held up a rainbow flag at the event with the slogan ‘Love is Stronger.’

Annenkov was found guilty yesterday over her involvement in the event by federal court judge Tatyana Neverona – who will also hear Kostuchenko’s case.

20,000 rubles is the equivalent of around $650 dollars.

Annenkov’s fine is the largest to date against a Russian citizen for participating in an LGBT pride parade and Russian activist Nikolai Alekseev is expecting a similar verdict in Kostuchenko’s case.

‘[The] Kostuchenko trial is postponed but no doubt she will get the same fine,’ Alekseev posted online.

‘So, a same sex family will be fined in all 1000 Euros for holding [a] “love is stronger” rainbow flag. Russia is becoming mad!’

Alekseev later told GSN that the fine was ‘the biggest ever in the history of Moscow Pride for 8 years.’

‘I am sure others will also be sentenced to similar amounts for taking part in Moscow Pride on 25 May. But this will not dissuade us from peaceful protest against homophobia and hate. We will continue to manifestate.

‘All the world can now see that a rainbow flag with the sign "love is stronger" leads to a huge fine in Russia. This is outrageous but as we know love finally is stronger and always wins over hate.’

LGBT rights protesters in Russia are set to face even stricter sanctions soon, with the lower house of the State Duma passing a bill banning so-called ‘propaganda of homosexuality.’

Not one Russian lawmaker voted against the law.

Those found guilty under homosexual propaganda law will be punished with fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($166 €124) for individuals, and officials could be fined 10 times that amount. The penalty for organizations will be 1 million rubles ($30,700 €23,k).

The law is also intended to isolate the LGBT movement in Russia, with foreigners who break the law being jailed for up to 15 days before being deported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign the bill into law despite international condemnation of the law.