A Russian man has been hit with a steep fine – because he said something about gays that was “non-negative”.
Sergei Alekseenko is the latest person to be charged under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law, which bans the “promotion of non-traditional relationships” to minors.
The activist served as the director of Maximum – a Murmansk LGBT rights group provided support and legal help for people struggling with their sexuality or gender identity, before it was forcibly ‘de-registered’ by the government in October 2015.
According to Human Rights Watch, the Leninsky District Court in Murmansk found that the group’s website violates the country’s law – which was signed into law by Putin in 2013.
Alekseenko was convicted of “the dissemination of positive information about LGBT relationships to children” and fined 100,000 rubles (£900) for the so-called violation.
Tanya Cooper of Human Rights Watch said: “Russian authorities use the ‘gay propaganda’ law to harass and intimidate LGBT activists into silence.
“Sergei Alekseenko will be appealing the district court’s verdict and the prosecutors should not oppose Alekseenko’s appeal.
“Russian authorities should immediately stop penalizing LGBT people for discussing their identities.
“Russia’s federal law banning ‘gay propaganda’ should be immediately repealed.”
Alekseenko told HRW that police claimed to have had 28 complaints about his organisation.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church recently claimed that the terrorist group known as ISIS is fuelled by “honest people” who are upset with gays.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, claimed: “What we are seeing now is this godless civilization is reaching maturity, in as much by through the will of the people, who proclaim it the highest of virtues but then wearing a cross is banned.
“We can have parades for the sexual minorities – that is supported, but a million French Christian protestors defending family values are broken up by police.
“If you call non-traditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison.”