Russia offers LGBT activist compensation for arrest under “gay propaganda” law

Russia offers LGBT activist compensation for arrest under "gay propaganda" law

27 May 2014
Text Nadia Beard

Gay rights activist Irina Fedotova will receive 8,000 roubles ($233) in compensation from the Russian Ministry of Finance for “moral and material damages” five years after she was arrested and fined for flouting the local “anti-gay propaganda” law. In 2009, a City Magistrate and the October District Court fined Fedotova 1,500 roubles ($44) after she picketed outside a children’s library in Ryazan, 196km southeast of Moscow, with placards reading “I am proud of my homosexuality” and “Homosexuality is normal”.

Fedotova’s landmark case marks the first time that a Russian court has paid compensation to an individual found guilty of promoting homosexual propaganda among minors. Following an appeal to the UN, Fedotova’s verdict was overturned in October 2012 due to pressure from the UN Committee on Human Rights who deemed it as contradictory to two articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: the right to freedom of expression and the prohibition of discrimination.

The UN Committee also emphasised the obligation of the Russian authorities to pay compensation for damages to the Fedotova. A second similar case is currently being reviewed by the European Court of Human Rights, which also contests Russian regional laws prohibiting homosexual propaganda.

Ryazanskaya regional court pushed through a bill in 2006 which criminalised “public action, aimed at the propaganda of homosexuality (men and women) among minors”. Although the law was passed at a federal level last year, ten regions banned the “propaganda of homosexuality” between 2006 and 2013.