State Duma deputies Mizulina and Batalina demand criminal charges be brought against Nikolai Alekseev

posted 3 Sept 2013, 07:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Sept 2013, 07:44 ]
29 July 2013


According to the newspaper Izvestia, criminal proceedings might soon be instituted against one of the leaders of Russia’s LGBT movement: Nikolai Alekseev. A source in the State Duma told the newspaper that the heads of the State Duma Committee on Women, Families, and Children have asked the Office of the Prosecutor General to prosecute Alekseev. In their turn, sources from law enforcement agencies confirmed that Alekseev would soon be summoned for questioning, in the course of which charges might be brought against him.
 
GayRussia.ru reports that the appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office against Alekseev was signed by the chair of the committee, Elena Mizulina, and the vice-chair, Olga Batalina (who also occupies the post of deputy secretary of United Russia’s general council). The women noted that over the course of the last few months, the gay activist repeatedly made rude and obscene remarks about them on his Twitter account; these comments revolved around the development and adoption of the law banning “homosexual propaganda” amongst minors. Izvestia counted a total of no less than 13 highly impartial references to Mizulina and Batalina on Alekseev’s microblog. All the comments are available to Internet users.

Mizulina told Izvestia that they have asked the Office of the Prosecutor General to institute criminal proceedings in accordance with Article 319 of the Criminal Code: “Insulting a representative of the authorities”. The article provides for a fine of up to 40,000 roubles, or up to 360 hours of compulsory community service, or up to 1 year of corrective work. According to Mizulina, the deputies are insisting on the second form of punishment.

“If criminal proceedings are instituted, we will ask for punishment in the form of compulsory labour in places where he won’t be able to spread gay propaganda – in a hearse, for example. Only that kind of punishment can reform him. He’ll realise that an intelligent and highly cultured person – as he claims to be – should not behave the way he did”, Mizulina announced.

Olga Batalina explained that she does not hold a personal grudge against Alekseev. However, she would like to defend all deputies – including the members of the Committee on Family Issues – against further offensive remarks.

“Anyone can agree or disagree with this - or any other – law. There are plenty of ways to express one’s agreement or disagreement. But the act of expressing one’s opinions should not hinder the professional activities of other people”, Batalina emphasised. “And so we decided to make this appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office in order to defend the interests of all the deputies”.

The investigative organs have not yet commented officially on the deputies’ request. Nonetheless, a source from the Office of the Prosecutor General confirmed that the parliamentarians could count on a response. According to an Izvestia source, Alekseev will most likely be summoned for questioning by the Investigative Committee, who could then bring criminal charges against him.
Nikolai Alekseev himself informed Izvestia that he is reacting “philosophically to this attempt to make him shut up”. He is convinced that there are absolutely no grounds for any criminal charges.

“In the end, the judicial process will backfire on the politicians who set it up, because I’ll ultimately win the case at the European Court of Human Rights. And of course they won’t achieve their goal of making me shut up”, he stressed.

Alekseev added that, in his opinion, people have not been offended by him, but rather by the deputies who launched a case against him.

“They offend millions of people with their initiatives and laws, such as those regarding homosexual propaganda. And I’m just a citizen expressing my own opinions”, he remarked.

Magomed Vakhaev, the vice-chair of the State Duma Committee on Security, believes that law-enforcement agencies should be concerned about Alekseev’s opinions.

“I think that he should have been prosecuted a long time ago. He repeatedly appealed to various deputies to defend the rights of the LGBT community, as if someone was violating those rights. But the members of that community are no less obliged to abide by Russian laws”, he emphasises.

The law banning propaganda about homosexual relations was proposed by the legislative assembly of the Novosibirsk region. The document evoked a wide response because – as several observers remarked – it was very difficult to understand what constituted such propaganda. The State Duma discussed the matter, and references to homosexuality were removed from the bill. Instead, they adopted a law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”.

According to the latest wording, such propaganda can manifest itself in the form of information that is disseminated with the aim of “forming non-traditional sexual inclinations amongst minors”, promoting “the attractiveness of non-traditional relations”, or encouraging “distorted ideas about the social equality of traditional and non-traditional relations”. On June 11, the document was adopted by the lower house of the Federal Assembly. After being signed by the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, it came into effect on June 30.

Source: GayRussia.ru, based on a publication in the newspaper Izvestia
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