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Sentence in Case Concerning 'Propaganda of Homosexuality' Enters into Force

Source: (info), 07/06/12

· Leningrad region and St. Petersburg  · Sexual minorities

"Smolninsky district court has just upheld the guilty verdict against me for gay propaganda! It is now in force. An appeal against the law banning gay propaganda in Petersburg will now be taken to the European Court and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. To the Statutory Court even!" wrote Nikolai Alekseev on his Twitter account.

As Rosbalt News Agency reports, on 12 April Nikolai Alekseev was detained at the entrance to the Smolny city government offices for holding a placard reading "Homosexuality is not a perversion. Perversion is hockey on grass and ballet on ice!" quoting the famous saying of the actress Faina Ranevskaya.

On 5 May a magistrate's court found evidence of promoting homosexuality among minors in the placard and fined the gay rights activist 5,000 roubles. Alekseev appealed the decision of the magistrate’s court in St. Petersburg's Smolninsky district court on 14 May.

In his detailed appeal, the gay rights activist demanded that the decision be overturned, as it violated the Russian Constitution and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

According to Alekseev, if the guilty verdict was upheld in the district court he planned to bring his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation with the aim of testing the compliance of the "law on gays" with the country's Fundamental Law.

In St. Petersburg the bill banning homosexual propaganda is currently in effect. It was supported by the majority of deputies and was signed by St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko. The law officially came into force on 30 March.

According to the law, fines will be imposed in the Northern Capital for "disseminating generally accessible information capable of harming the health and moral and spiritual development of minors, including the formation of distorted ideas regarding the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional marital relations." The range of fines is as follows: 5,000 roubles for individuals, 50,000 roubles for public officials, and 500,000 roubles for legal persons.