The comprehensive resource for vacations and hotels marketed to the LGBT community
Russian Governor Cleared by Court for “Faggots Must Be Torn Apart” Anti-Gay Hate Speech
Temporary closure of street for a gay
protest march “breaches the rights of drivers”, says city
TAMBOV, November 14, 2008 – The governor of the Tambov region of Russia has been cleared of charges by an appeals court following an anti-gay outburst reported in the daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda last May.
And in a separate, but related case, the Tambov city authorities give the reason that they banned a gay march was because the closure of streets “breaches the rights of drivers”.
“Tolerance? To hell! Faggots must be torn apart and their pieces should be thrown in the wind,” the newspaper reported the Governor as saying.
Angry gays immediately filed a criminal complaint which was dismissed in July and again last month by the Lenin District Court in Tambov when Governor Oleg Betin was found not to have broken any law with his remarks.
In the Lenin District Court on October 6, federal judge Leonid Dmitriev said that the Governor’s remarks “did not concern the interests of the applicants” and that that the applicants could not be considered victims of hate speech in this particular case.
Yesterday, a group of gays appealed the decisions of the lower courts to the Tambov Appeals Court, which dismissed the appeal. The criminal panel of judges gave no reason for the dismissal, saying that it would be published later.
During yesterday’s court hearing, Nikolai Alekseev – one of the applicants – told the Appeals Court that the district court actually denied gays the right to court protection which is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution.
Moreover he suggested that all applicants in the case are homosexuals which they confirmed on various occasions.
The gay activists, Nikolai Baev, Kirill Nepomnyaschiy and Mr. Alekseev, all confirmed to the court that they were homosexual and said that they considered themselves as part of the social group which was insulted by Governor Betin.
They also referred to a number of Constitutional Court decisions which underpinned their arguments and said that the dismissal of their complaint by ‘first instance court’ is a denial of their right to court protection which is guaranteed by Russian law and European Convention.
But their application to the court to invalidate the district court decision and to send the case back to the first instance court for reconsideration was rejected.
“If needed, the case will be taken to the Russian Supreme Court,” Mr. Alekseev said after the hearing.
“The decision of the regional court will be appealed to the Presidium of the same court in an extraordinary procedure.
“We are not going to let go of this case as it is unless the final decision is taken by Supreme Court.”
In a separate case also yesterday in Tambov, federal judge Tamara Prostoserdova ruled that the bans by Tambov city authorities on a demonstration and march to protest the Governor’s remarks and to call for gay rights, scheduled for last month, were lawful.
Gay activists had planned two separate events, organised to fight homophobia and in support of the rights of sexual minorities in Russia.
The city had said that a picket on October 10 could not go ahead. According to the letter from Tambov City Administration the proposed picketing was banned due to the numerous letters of protest received from various public organizations.
The authorities said that the event was “a propaganda of homosexuality” and was deemed to spoil the image of Tambov as an Orthodox city.
Originally, the authorities had agreed to the picket being held at the Kristall Ice Palace between 1 and 2 pm.
But the City Administration later said that, in accordance with the law on local government, it was obliged to listen “to the views of the majority of citizens who were against the staging of the proposed public event”.
Under these circumstances, the authorities stressed, they were unable to provide security for the participants of the event.
The ban of the gay march planned for October 18 was due to the impossibility to block traffic.
Tambov City Administration said that “the march breaches the rights of drivers and could lead to accidents on the city roads”.
According to Russian federal law, organisers claim, the authorities were obliged to offer the organizers alternative route or time for the march.
In their complaints yesterday to the Lenin District Court of Tambov, the organisers of the two planned events said that the authorities had no reasons to ban the events – and that they were obliged to provide security for the participants.
“The decision of the district court will be appealed to Tambov regional court as soon as we get the detail of the decision,” Mr Alekseev said following the hearing, which lasted three hours.
“Even though the position of City Administration
representatives and prosecution was very weak, the court decision was
dictated by the political situation in the region and in the city,” he
How to contact UK
AIM messenger: UKGayNews;