Reacting to today’s imposition of a heavy fine on feminist and LGBTI-activist Yulia Tsvetkova under the homophobic “gay propaganda” law for administering LGBTI-themed groups on social media, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, said:
“Once again, a Russian human rights activist pays a heavy price – in every sense - for simply spreading the ideals of inclusiveness, tolerance and women’s empowerment.
“Yulia is the latest target of a long-running discriminatory and intensely homophobic campaign. She has suffered one blow after another, having been arbitrarily detained, interrogated and intimidated on multiple occasions. Her theatrical and creative initiatives have been stifled by law enforcement officers, and her drawings now judged as pornographic.
“Yulia is currently under house arrest and is still facing criminal “pornography” charges which are punishable by up to six years in prison. All charges against her must be dropped, and the fine and house arrest imposed on her annulled. She has done nothing else than standing up for human rights.”
Yulia Tsvetkova - from Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Russian Far East) - was found guilty of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”, an administrative offense, and fined 50,000 rubles (US$ 780) for being the administrator of two LGBTI-themed online communities. Both communities were marked “18+”, as required by Russian law, making the fine imposed on her unfounded under the homophobic Russian “gay propaganda” legislation.
The activist is still facing criminal “pornography” charges. She was put under house arrest on 23 November after being charged with “production and dissemination of pornographic materials” over drawings of female genitals she posted on social media.
In March, Yulia Tsvetkova had to drop her work with youth amateur theatre Merak after the police launched an investigation into “homosexual propaganda” related to her anti-bullying and anti-discrimination play “Blue and Pink”. The theatre was forced to cease its activities.
Tags: RUSSIAN FEDERATION, WOMEN'S RIGHTS, LGBTI RIGHTS, CENSORSHIP AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.
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