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Prosecution of ‘foreign agents’ continues in St. Petersburg

27 May 2013 

Source: (info
On Monday 27 May in St. Petersburg the first hearing took place in the trial of the LGBT organization Coming Out on charges of failing to register as a ‘foreign agent’. As Rosbalt reports, based on information provided by activists, of 40 non-profit organizations that have been inspected by prosecutors in St. Petersburg, three have been ordered by the prosecutors to register as ‘foreign agents’: the LGBT organization Coming Out, the LGBT film festival Side by Side, and the Memorial Anti-Discrimination Centre.

Earlier the case of the LGBT film festival Side by Side had been heard. The court ruled at the request of the defence that the prosecutors should provide a document setting out the legal basis for the inspection of the NGO. The hearing was adjourned until 6 June.

According to the lawyer acting for Side by Side, Dmitry Bartenev, the defence was satisfied that the judge gave them the opportunity to test the legality of the prosecutors’ actions. ‘There were no grounds for inspecting the LGBT film festival Side by Side,’ Bartenev said. ‘And this means that the case against the organization should be thrown out.’

Activists reported that all three organizations took the same position: ‘human rights activity cannot be equated with political activity; the work of human rights organizations is directed towards the good of Russian citizens.’

Lawyer Dmitry Bartenev, who represented LGBT film festival Side by Side in court, will also represent the LGBT organization Coming Out.