Founder of Russian LGBT Youth Support Group Not Guilty of Violating Anti-Propaganda Law
Washington D.C. – Human Rights First today applauds the decision of the Dzerzhinsky district court in finding Lena Klimova, founder of the LGBT youth online support group Children 404, not guilty of violating the anti-“propaganda” law. Klimova was represented by Maria Kozlovskaya, lawyer and activist for the Russian LGBT Network.
“We congratulate Klimova and Kozlovskaya on a well-deserved victory in the fight to protect the human rights of Russia’s LGBT community,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “The fact that this case was brought to trial to begin with is an indication of the ongoing efforts of members of the Russian government to stifle freedom of expression of the LGBT community. We must continue to support Russian activists by drawing attention to the absurdity of the cases being prosecuted under the anti-“propaganda” laws, and call for a clarification of how the law is to be applied moving forward.”
The case was originally brought against Klimova by request of St. Petersburg Member of Parliament Vitaly Milonov, who complained about the online content of Children 404, which was created on Facebook and the Russian social network vk.com as a community for Russian LGBT teenagers. The site posts letters from LGBT teenagers, including coming out stories, and organizes online chats with LGBT community leaders. Milonov announced that he plans to appeal the decision.
Human Rights First continues to urge the U.S. government to press Russian officials to clarify the application of the anti-propaganda law, as well as end the systematic persecution of civil society, and prevent the passage of further discriminatory laws.