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Russia: the Supreme Court bans the “  LGBT movement » | The acronym LGBTQ+

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The Supreme Court of Russia, in Moscow.

Agence France-Presse

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The Russian Supreme Court on Thursday banned the “international” LGBT+ movement for “extremism”, paving the way for legal proceedings and prison sentences for homosexuals and activists who defend their rights in Russia.

This decision comes in the midst of an ultraconservative shift that targets LGBT+ people, with Russia posing as the standard bearer of traditional values ​​in the face of the supposed decadence of the West .

This policy has accelerated since the attack by the Russian army against Ukraine at the end of February 2022, which led to a repression against all forms of criticism of the Kremlin.

Judge Oleg Nefedov ordered to recognize the international LGBT movement and its affiliates as extremists and to ban their activities on the territory of the Russian Federation, according to AFP correspondents on site.

Mr. Nefedov clarified that this ban came into force immediately.

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Less than ten people gathered in front of the Court. Few people came, regrets Ada Blakewell, a journalist. This shows how everyone is afraid […] to talk about LGBTQ people.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, immediately denounced this new decision. No one should be imprisoned for working for human rights or be deprived of their rights because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, he stressed in a statement.

The hearing, the first in this case, lasted only a few hours and took place without a lawyer – no organization with that name exists in Russia – and behind closed doors, because the matter was classified.

LGBT people are not poor homosexuals or lesbians against whom, as we are told, Russia has decided to fight. This is a well-organized and planned project to undermine traditional societies from within, Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy assured on Telegram.

Sodomy is a sin, he insisted, calling for the entire LGBT+ monster to be destroyed and not just its tentacles.

A spokesperson for the Russian Orthodox Church, Vakhtang Kichidze, quoted by the Ria Novosti agency, welcomed this ban as a form of moral self-defense.

Russia has once again shown that neither the collective West nor the United States will deprive us of the most important thing: a religious and national identity! Akhmed Dudayev, a member of the government of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, said on Telegram.

According to NGOs and independent Russian media, LGBT+ people have been secretly tortured and murdered in Chechnya in recent years.

Mid-November, the Russian ministry of Justice had asked to qualify as an extremist organization and to ban the international LGBT movement, without clearly saying which organization it was targeting.

Any public activity associated with what Russia considers non-traditional sexual orientations could now be punished for extremism, a crime punishable by heavy prison sentences.

Authorities could start opening criminal cases against public figures as well as activists to create a climate of fear, said Maxime Olenitchev, a lawyer with the NGO Pervy Otdel, which helps victims. of repressions in Russia.

Until now, LGBT+ people risked heavy fines if they were accused of making propaganda – the term employed by authorities – but no imprisonment.

The last decade has seen their rights radically limited under the leadership of Vladimir Putin who, with the Orthodox Church, claims to want to eliminate from the public sphere behavior deemed deviant and imported from the West.

Ian Dvorkin, founder in Russia of the NGO Center T, which helps transgender people, fled the country for fear of being accused of extremism and being thrown in prison for having created this association.

Working in Russia is becoming very uncertain […]. It looks like those [LGBT+ activists] who survive will live entirely in hiding, he told AFP.

For him, this trial is a new peak of madness, and more and more people are asking for help to leave the country.

Since 2013, a law prohibits the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors, a text denounced by NGOs as an instrument of homophobic repression.

This law was considerably expanded at the end of 2022. It now bans LGBT+ propaganda among all audiences, in the media, on the Internet, in books and in films.

In July, Russian MPs also adopted a law targeting transgender people, notably banning them from surgical operations and hormonal therapies.

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