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Moscow Court Rules Ban on Gay Picket Outside Iranian Embassy Was Lawful

Use of word “homosexual” appears to be reason for ban, organisers say



This article in Russian, Мосгорсуд признал законным запрет гей-пикета около посольства Ирана в Москве

 For online instant translation in selected other languages, see below.





MOSCOW, December 19, 2008 (  –  The Moscow City Court dismissed yesterday an appeal by the organisers of a proposed picket last July in front of Iranian Embassy which was banned by the city authorities. The Taganskiy district court had upheld the ban.

In 2006 and 2007 similar demonstrations outside the Iranian Embassy were permitted.  But the word “homosexual” was not in the application to the city authorities.  It was this year, activists say.

The case is likely to go to the European Court of Human Rights.  If it does, it will be the sixth case from gays in Russian to be appealed to Strasbourg.

The picket, to condemn executions – and to demand an end to the death penalty – of gays and children in Iran was set for July 19 and organisers planned to have up 30 participants.

The Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow was informed about the picket by the organisers, in full accordance with the Russian law, on July 11.  But the same day then deputy prefect Galina Boryatinskaya banned the picket on security grounds.

In her letter to the organisers, Mrs. Boryatinskaya gave references to Article 11 of the European Convention which, according to her views, allows limiting the right to freedom of assembly for the protection of pubic order, to prevent disorders, for the protection of health and morality as well as the rights and freedoms of other people.

Five days later, picket organisers appealed the ban to Taganskiy district court of Moscow, asking the court to invalidate the decision of the deputy prefect.

On September 18, district court judge Mikhail Kazakov dismissed the complaint, ruling that the actions of the Prefecture were lawful.  Organisers said in court that Russian legislation does not allow authorities to ban peaceful public events and that they only need to notify the authorities in accordance with the procedure.

Additionally, it was pointed out in court that for the past two years – July 19, 2006 and July 19, 2007 – the Prefecture allowed similar pickets.

In the first two years, organisers did not mention “homosexuals” in their application.

Just one additional word changed the mind of the authorities and led to the ban of the event, the organisers suggested, insisting that the ban was discriminatory toward gays.

The demonstrations by Russian gays and lesbians in front of Iranian Embassy in 2006 and 2007 were organised as part of the international campaign against executions of people in this Islamic state. There were no incidents.

July 19 is the day in 2005 that two Iranian teenagers were publicly executed.  Both were said by Iranian activists to have been gay.

“When we get the final written judgement from Moscow City Court, we will send a new complaint to the European Court of Human Rights,” Nikolai Alekseev said last night.

There are currently five cases from Russian gays pending at the Strasbourg-based Human Rights Court, the earliest concerning the ban on the first-ever Moscow Pride in 2006.

Earlier this week, these cases were referred to by MEPs in written European Parliamentary questions, concerning gay rights in Russia and Belarus, to the President of the European Commission.



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Euro MPs Get Tough Over Lack of Gay Rights in Russia and Belarus.  Three MEPs from the ALDE (Liberal Democrat) group have tabled questions to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barruso asking about the lack of gay rights in Russia and Belarus - and they are demanding answers. (UK Gay News, December 17, 2008)



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Posted: 19 December 2008 at 12:30 (UK time)


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