MOSCOW, July 8, 2008 (GayRussia.ru)
– The Tverskoi District Court of Moscow has refused to consider the
complaint lodged with the court by the organisers of Moscow Gay Pride
against the inaction of the Russian President, Dmitriy Medvedev, following
the request to stage their Pride march on May 31 at Alexandrovskiy Sad within
In his decision, federal judge
Alexey Sevalkin made references to a number of articles of Russian
Constitution, mainly Article 91, which says the President of Russian
Federation has immunity against any legal actions.
The Court held that even though the
Constitution says that “everyone is equal before the law and the court”,
there are a few persons who are protected by their immunity.
In addition, the Court said that
the case against the President can not be considered in civil proceedings
but did not specify how to make the head of state accountable for his
inactions which contradict the Russian legislation.
Moscow Pride organisers appealed
against the President to the Court on June 23.
They were denied marches on any day
during May by the Moscow authorities and, as a result, they applied to the
President for permission to hold the march in Alexandrovskiy Sad with 200
Alexandrovskiy Sad is one of only
few places in Moscow which is under the jurisdiction of the President and
not Moscow authorities.
The letter to the Russian President
was handed to his administration on May 16. Five days later, the letter was
forwarded to the Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow.
Presidential Administration relied
on the provision of the law which allows them to forward the letter to the
In their complaint to Tverskoi
District Court, organisers of Moscow Pride insisted that the questions
raised in the letter to the President concerning the conduct of the public
event in Alexandrovskiy Sad are the jurisdiction of the President.
This, they claimed, is clearly
written in Article 8 of the Federal Law on assemblies, meetings,
demonstrations, marches and pickets.
According to the law on
consideration of citizens’ letters, Moscow Pride organisers had the right to
receive a motivated reply from the Russian President on the issues raised in
their letter. The reply was supposed to be given within a 30-day period.
The applicants asked Tverskoi
District Court to judge that inaction of the President was unlawful and
oblige the head of state to give a motivated reply to the letter of the
Pride organisers in accordance with his competence.
Nikolai Alekseev, the principal
organiser of Moscow Pride, said when applying to court that “representatives
of the Russian authorities talk a lot about the necessity to follow the law
and at the same time they did not learn how to do it themselves.
“They demand it from their
citizens. The President quite possibly did not know anything about our
letter to him though we, as applicants, are not obliged to understand how
bureaucratic procedures of Kremlin administration work,” he continued.
“Our letter was addressed to the
President and that is the reason why we apply to court against the
Mr. Alekseev suggested that
“Presidential administration officials probably again wanted to put all
responsibility on Moscow authorities; but in this case representatives of
the Prefecture acted in accordance with their powers and sent the letter
back to the Administration.
“Only the President has powers to
allow the events in Alexandrovskiy Sad,” he pointed out.
“We applied to the President
Dmitriy Medvedev as a safeguard of the Constitution because Moscow
authorities unlawfully denied us our constitutional right to freedom of
assembly enshrined in Article 31 of the Constitution”.
“It’s a pity that the President,
even though he proclaimed that he would fight for human rights, did not
interfere and put an end to the unlawful actions of Moscow officials.”
On receiving the court judgment
this morning, Mr. Alekseev said that “we are going to appeal this decision
of Tverskoi District Court in Moscow City Court and take this case up to the
European Court of Human Rights if needed.
“We were denied court protection
which contradicts with the European Convention on Human Rights”.
He suggested “by issuing such a
decision the court admitted full immunity of the head of state and his full
unaccountability for the actions and inactions. Now the President is not
obliged to answer to any letters of Russian citizens, he can just ignore
The third Moscow Pride took place
in Moscow on Sunday June 1. Gay activists picketed the monument to the
Russian composer Petr Tchaikovsky and then displayed a huge banner from one
of the flats on Tverskaya Street in front of Moscow City Hall. The banner
read: “Rights to gays and lesbians! Homophobia of Moscow Mayor should be
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Posted: 8 July 2008 at
13:00 (UK time)