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Canada: Gay author reimbursed after cancelling trip to Russia

Aaron Day December 15, 2013
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A gay author in Montreal has been fully reimbursed after cancelling a trip to Russia he had booked before the country introduced its notorious anti-gay “propaganda” laws earlier this year.

CBC News Montreal reports K David Brody won the dispute with La Capitale insurance company and received $1,452.90 (£891.90) reimbursement after the company had initially refused his claim.

He said he had booked the flight to visit his nephew living in the country, but decided to cancel the visit after President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning “homosexual propaganda” in June.

“I booked the trip in June and then I heard about the law in July,” he said.

“I was really exposed to the risk of being arrested, or imprisoned, or deported. I’ve published a book and if anybody Googles my name, they’re going to know it’s a gay novel.”

The British-born author won the 2010 General Fiction Hollywood Book Festival Award for his “Mourning and Celebration: Jewish, Orthodox and Gay Past & Present.”

Mr Brody said a La Capitale agent initially told him he would not be reimbursed because the federal government had only cautioned against travelling to Russia, rather than issuing an advisory.

However, the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) took up Mr Brody’s complaint, and the group was prepared to argue in court that the company upheld anti-gay discrimination.

CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi said: “We knew that this could be a very precedent-setting case.

“We thought that the company should have been more… sensitive to his concerns for his safety and for his own freedom.”

Mr Niemi added: “We expected that foreign affairs would put out a clear warning, instead of just a caution. Hopefully that will change, especially now that we move closer to the winter Olympics.”

Earlier this year, the “Sochi: Winter of Hate” petition had called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the Olympic games to Canada.

The law, passed in June, allows Russian police to fine, detain, and expel tourists and foreign nationals suspected of promoting gay “propaganda.”

Related topics: anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Europe, G20, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014

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