The Russian LGBT Network (RLGBTN) have announced that up to four gay Dutch tourists have been arrested and detained by police.
Writing on their Facebook wall, the RLGBTN stated that four Dutch nationals had been detained by police under charges of gay propaganda.
In a statement the network said:
Four Dutch citizens are accused of spreading “propaganda of non-traditional relationships among the under-aged” (that is, gay propaganda). 20th and 21st of July on the campsite called “Frigate”, a cultural event was held under the title “Youth for Human Rights Camp”. In its program there was included the performance of Kris van der Veen from Dutch LGBT-Groningen,http://www.lgbtgroningen.nl/. In addition, there were shown shots of a documentary telling about the Human Rights situation in Russia.
On the 21st of July police officers and representatives of the Russian Federal Migration Service arrived at the campsite, questioned the participants and stated that the article 6.21.3 (“propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among the under-aged, spread by citizen of a foreign country”) was violated because in the video material there were interviews of under-aged people.
The Dutch said that the testimony written in the protocole don’t reflect reality but they were anyway forced to sign in because, as police officers said, “that’s how Russia works”.
The Russian LGBT Network and a Muurmansk-based LGBT organization “Maksimum” give judicial aid to the accused and provide them with information. The General Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and international Human Rights organizations are kept informed about the situation.
The court hearing will be held today at 14.30.
The court hearing which was due for day (Monday 22nd July) it has been delayed.
The Russian LGBT Network provides legal assistance.”
The official and legal definition of ‘homosexual propaganda’ is currently unclear, however reports are emerging of arrests for kissing, holding hands, wearing or using rainbows.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has also updated its advice for gay people travelling to Russia. On their website the DoFA states:
“Homosexuality was illegal in the USSR up until 1993 when it was decriminalised. However, a federal law has recently been approved that prohibits the promotion of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism in the Russian Federation. Fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities to minors. According to the legislation, public displays of affection or activities regarded as counter to the law may also lead to fines, arrests and deportations.”