A court in Russia has ruled that the homophobic Mayor of Moscow did not slander gay activists by calling their gay pride parade “satanic.”

The organiser of the event, Nicolas Alexeyev, had filed a lawsuit at Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court.

In addition to demanding a retraction, parade organisers were seeking 1,000 roubles (£19) each in compensation for moral damage.

In May 2006 the city’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, refused to issue a permit for the Pride march.

He said that he will never allow a gay parade to take place in Moscow, and called gay people “satanic.”

Gay activists pressed on with Moscow Pride despite the ban, police arrests, and violence from neo-fascists, right-wing nationalists and Orthodox Christian fundamentalists.

Over 120 people including a German MP were arrested during the chaotic scenes at Moscow Pride as gay campaigners from all over the world converged in the Russian capital.

They were met by 1000 riot police aiming to stop demonstrations in Red Square.

Today the court said the city’s mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, had no case to answer with regards to slander.

Mr Alexeyev said he will appeal the decision.

Last week he was told he will not be prosecuted for his actions at the banned event last year.

He was arrested on 27th May 2006 after a group of activists attempted to lay flowers at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial, equating the struggle for gay rights with fighting fascism.

Mr Alexeyev said of that decision:

“The police could not find any evidence that I breached Russian legislation.

“That is why they had nothing else to do than to close all proceedings against me without official accusations or administrative sanctions.”

Mr Alexeyev said that the May 27th 2007 event will definitely be going ahead, and that an application for a parade will be made in accordance with Russian law.

Moscow Pride 2007 marks the day in 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia.