Russian court rejects more appeals from Pride activists

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A court in Russia today rejected the appeal of gay activists requesting that a ban on this year’s gay Pride be considered unlawful.

Moscow City Court confirmed the decision of a local district court, which had upheld the city government’s decision to ban the march.

Moscow Pride 2007, the second proposed LGBT event in two years to be held in the Russian capital, was scheduled for May 27th but never happened because of the city mayor’s decision to ban it.

Yuri Luzhkov’s prohibitive order was explained by the head of his security department, Nikolai Kulikov.

“In the light of the letters being received by Moscow government containing requests not to allow the conduct of this public event, the march can provoke negative reaction against its participants, lead to the group violations of public order which happened in May 2006,” he said.

Moscow authorities also said that their decision was in line with Article 11 of the European Convention on human rights, since it states that the right to freedom of assembly can be limited in the interests of public order, to avoid disturbances, for the protection of health and morality.

Earlier this year Mr Luzhkov said that in his view a gay parade could only be seen as a “Satanic gathering.”

In October, the same court that in ruled today’s case had rejected an appeal from Pride organisers about the mayor’s statement, saying that the term “Satanic gathering” was referred only to the event and not to its organisers or other LGBT people.

Pride activist Nicolas Alexeyev expressed distrust of the three judge panel appointed for the appeal, two of whom had earlier already dismissed similar appeals.

After court hearing, he said that his LGBT rights organisation, Project GayRussia, was going to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We are planning to combine the case of two banned pickets on 27th May, the banned march on 27th May, my own detention during the Pride and fine, as well as the statements of Moscow Mayor that gay parades are Satanic gatherings, in one application to the European Court of Human Rights” he said.