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La Cour Russian Supreme Leader Bans LGBTQ+ “Movement” for “Extremism” /></p>
<p> Natalia Kolesnikova Agence France-Presse Two young people console each other after the judgment of the Russian Supreme Court which opens the way to prosecution and prison sentences against homosexuals and activists defending their rights in Russia. </p>
<p>The Russian Supreme Court on Thursday banned the “international” LGBTQ+ movement for “extremism”, paving the way for legal proceedings and prison sentences for gays and activists defending their rights in Russia.</p>
<p> This decision comes in the midst of an ultraconservative shift targeting LGBTQ+ people, with Russia positioning itself as the standard-bearer of “traditional” values ​​in the face of the supposed decadence of the West.</p>
<p>This policy has accelerated since the attack by the Russian army against Ukraine at the end of February 2022, which led to a repression targeting all forms of criticism of the Kremlin.</p>
<p>The Judge Oleg Nefedov ordered “the recognition as extremists of the international LGBT movement and its subsidiaries [and] the banning of their activities on the territory of the Russian Federation,” according to Agence France-Presse correspondents on site.< /p> </p>
<p>Mr. Nefedov specified that this ban came into force “immediately.”</p>
<p>Less than ten people gathered in front of the Court. “Not many people came,” regrets Ada Blakewell, a journalist. This shows how afraid everyone is […] to talk about LGBTQ people. »</p>
<p>The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, immediately denounced this new decision. “No one should be imprisoned for working for human rights or deprived of their rights because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he stressed in a statement.</p>
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    The hearing, the first in this case, lasted only a few hours, and took place without a lawyer – no organization with this name exists in Russia – and behind closed doors, because the case was classified “secret”.

    “LGBTs are not poor gays or lesbians against whom, as we are told, Russia has decided to fight. This is a well-organized and planned project to undermine traditional societies from within,” Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy assured on Telegram.

    “Sodomy is a sin,” he repeated, calling for the complete “destruction” of the LGBTQ+ “monster,” not just its “tentacles.”

    A spokesperson for the The Russian Orthodox Church, Vakhtang Kichidze, quoted by the Ria Novosti agency, welcomed this ban as “a form of moral self-defense.”

    “Russia has shown once again that neither neither the collective West nor the United States would deprive us of the most important: a religious and national identity! » said Akhmed Dudayev, member of the government of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, on Telegram.

    According to NGOs and independent Russian media, LGBTQ+ people have been secretly tortured and murdered in Chechnya in recent years.


    In mid-November, the Russian Justice Ministry requested that it be classified as an “organization extremist” and banned “the international LGBT movement”, without clearly stating which organization it was targeting.

    Any public activity associated with what Russia considers “non-traditional” sexual orientations could now be punished for “extremism,” a crime punishable by heavy prison sentences.

    “Authorities could begin to open criminal cases against public figures and activists to create a climate of fear,” said Maxime Olenitchev, a lawyer from the NGO Pervy Otdel, which helps victims of repression in Russia.

    < h2 class="h2-intertitle">“Peak of madness”

    Until now, LGBTQ+ people faced hefty fines if accused of making “propaganda” — the term used by authorities — but not imprisonment.

    The last decade has seen their rights be radically limited under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, who, with the Orthodox Church, claims to want to eliminate from the public sphere behavior deemed deviant and imported from the West.

    Ian Dvorkine, founder in Russia of the NGO Center T, which helps transgender people, fled the country for fear of being accused of “extremism” and being thrown in prison for having created this association.

    “Working in Russia becomes very uncertain […] It looks like those [LGBTQ+ activists] who survive will live entirely in hiding,” he told Agence France-Presse.

    For him, this trial is “a new peak of madness”, and “more and more people” are asking for help to leave the country.

    Since 2013, a law prohibits the “propaganda” of “non-traditional sexual relations” with minors, a text denounced by NGOs as an instrument of homophobic repression.

    This law was considerably expanded at the end of 2022. It now bans LGBTQ+ “propaganda” among all audiences, in the media, on the Internet, in books and films.

    In July, Russian deputies also adopted a law targeting transgender people, which notably prohibits them from surgical operations and therapies hormonal.

    Teilor Stone

    By Teilor Stone

    Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116