The Stavropol Territorial Ministry of Justice. Photo:

09 January 2024, 22:19

Rights defenders assess prospects of prosecution for coming out in Stavropol Territory

The explanation of the Stavropol Territorial Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that coming out is assessed as a statement of belonging to an extremist community has no legal force. Lawyers and human rights defenders have noted that the reasons for persecuting activists in this case are very broad.

The above MoJ has stated that after the recognition of the "international public LGBT movement"* as an extremist organization, the use and display of the symbols of the movement, including the rainbow flag, are prohibited in Russia, the "Sota" Telegram channel has reported.

"A statement about belonging to LGBT movement* is assessed as a statement about belonging to an extremist organization," says the MoJ's statement.

Igor Kochetkov**, a human rights defender of the LGBT movement*, has pointed out the confusion in the MoJ's response, since it also states that only "the fulfilment of any duties to ensure the activities of LGBT people" will be treated as extremist activity.

Eva Levenberg, a lawyer for the "OVD-Info"** project, believes that in the near future people won't be prosecuted solely for their publicly disclosed sexuality – most likely, they will start with activists of LGBT organizations*.

The above MoJ directly says that it will identify and prosecute people for reporting their LGBT orientation, Ms Levenberg has stressed.

"Most probably, the point is not about banning the rainbow flag completely or banning people from identifying them as non-heterosexual, but the problem is that, like in the previous anti-LGBT laws, this one is likely to be selective," the spokesman of the SK SOS Crisis Group** has explained, adding that the Group works throughout Northern Caucasus; and they have applications from the Stavropol Territory, but they are much fewer than from Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan.

*On November 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation declared the movement an "extremist organization" and banned the "international public movement of LGBT people". With this decision, the court satisfied the claim of the Russian Ministry of Justice, sent to the court on November 17, 2023.

**Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 9, 2024 at 07:32 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: СK correspondent

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