Current Affairs

Moscow Gay Pride organisers seek compensation for human rights breaches

Jane Lim June 17, 2008
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Moscow Gay Pride organisers have sent their third application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg against Russia, seeking a £24,000 compensation for the breaches of their human rights.

The new application is in connection with the June 27th picketing in front of the representation of the European Commission in Moscow last year.

Organisers had planned to call the authorities of the European Union to ban the entrance of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to the EU states due to the systematic violations of human rights enshrined in Russian legislation and International conventions as well as the unlawful bans of public protests.

On 25th June 2007, Prefecture of the Central Administrative Area of Moscow allowed the event with up to 60 participants, to take place.

However, right before the start of the picket, organisers were given another letter signed by deputy prefect Gelina Boryatinskaya dated 26th June in which the picketing was banned due to rebuilding works next to the office of the European Commission representative.The prefecture said this created a threat to the security of the participants and provided no alternative location for the event.

Some activists, however, decided to go ahead with event. Around 25 activists showed up to take part in the picket with placards carrying the slogans “Luzhkov: Moscow – Strasbourg – The Hague” and “Europe, Ban Luzhkov’s EU entrance.”

Three of the participants, including the chief organiser Kirill Nepomnyaschiy, were arrested by the police and taken to the Yakimanka police station. They were released three hours later.In their complaint to Taganski district court organisers maintained that prefecture breached the time limits set by the law for the consideration of the notifications and did not offer any alternative place or time of the event.

On 14 February, the Moscow City court confirmed the decision of the lower court, dismissing the appeal of the organisers.The representative of the prefecture said in court on Wednesday that prefecture did not ban the event but terminated it due to security reasons.

If this is the case they were not obliged to offer any alternative place.

In their application to the European Court of Human Rights the claimants insist that the ban of the picketing on 27th June 2007 and its further confirmation in Russian courts breached a number of Articles of the European Convention, including Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly), Article 14 (ban on discrimination) in conjunction with Article 11 and Article 13 (right to court protection).

“The application which we sent to the European Court on Monday is only the first one which deals with the bans of public events of sexual minorities in Moscow not connected with Gay Pride events. Currently we are finishing our work on several similar cases”, said organizer of Moscow Gay Pride Nikolai Alekseev.

He also suggests that “Moscow authorities actually ban any public events of gays and lesbians in the city which contradicts Russian legislation and European Convention on the protection of Human Rights”.

Organisers of Moscow Pride reminded that “two complaints concerning the ban of Moscow Pride events in May 2006 and May 2007 are already in the European Court awaiting consideration. In the light of the earlier legal positions expressed by Strasbourg court we have no doubts in the positive decision”

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