Russian human rights groups ask Supreme Court to dismiss authorities’ request to ban non-existent ‘international LGBT movement’
Multiple Russian human rights organizations have written to the country’s Supreme Court asking it to dismiss a lawsuit by the Russian Justice Ministry demanding that the “international LGBT public movement” be banned as an “extremist organization.”
Lawyers from the human rights groups sent a letter highlighting the suit’s “anti-legal nature” to the court. Among other things, it notes that there is no such entity as the “international LGBT movement.” Meduza has obtained a copy of the document.
“You can’t use the phrase ‘public movement’ to refer to a group of people just because they belong to some social group or because they have some personal attributes in common. That’s just as absurd as referring to all pensioners as a ‘public movement,’ or all people of a certain ethnicity,” the letter reads.
The lawyers criticize the classified nature of the proceedings, which they say violates the principle of transparency. Because the “LGBT movement” doesn’t exist, they argue, there’s not a single organization or citizen who can serve as a defendant in the case. “This is essentially a closed process with only one participant: the Russian Justice Ministry itself,” the statement continues.
Involvement in the activities of an “extremist organization” is punishable by up to 10 years in prison for organizers and up to six years for everyone else. The letter notes that this means that if the “LGBT movement” is given the designation, it could result in the criminalization of human rights advocacy and activism as well as a heightened risk of persecution for human rights workers, activists, journalists, and all openly LGBTQ+ people.
“The recognition of the ‘LGBT movement’ as extremist would effectively signify the state’s desire to control people’s beliefs and promote ‘traditional’ family values, which it claims are incompatible with the activities of the ‘LGBT movement,’ and would contradict the provisions of the Russian Constitution that declare Russia to be a secular state,” the lawyers write.
The Supreme Court is set to consider the suit on November 30.
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