Russia’s Supreme Court rules international LGBT movement ‘extremist organisation’

Following a closed session that lasted four hours, Russia’s Supreme Court deemed the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organisation on Thursday, effectively outlawing it.

The court hearing was held behind closed doors, with only Justice Ministry representatives in attendance. Members of the International LGBT Movement, created after the original motion, told Novaya Europe the court ignored their request to attend.

“This hearing is illegitimate and one-sided: there is a plaintiff but no defendant. In the event that our motion is approved, the court will be obliged to hold the hearing again. However, if they refuse us, we will not be notified of the results,” the LGBT International Public Movement said.

The decision was announced by Supreme Court Judge Oleg Nefedov, who recently threw out a motion from jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny demanding he be given writing materials in his cell. Nefedov was also responsible for upholding a decision to disband the political party PARNAS created by Boris Nemtsov, the murdered liberal politician, and former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

Supreme Court Judge Oleg Nefedov announcing the decision. Photo: Novaya Gazeta Europe

Supreme Court Judge Oleg Nefedov announcing the decision. Photo: Novaya Gazeta Europe

The Ministry of Justice filed a motion to brand the “international LGBT movement” an extremist organisation with the Supreme Court earlier this month, saying that the activities of the “LGBT movement” were found to “incite social and religious discord”.

In response, seven Russian human rights organisations filed their own motion to the court, asking it to throw out the Justice Ministry’s motion, reasoning that there is no such thing as an “international LGBT movement”.

Human rights organisations have already reported a sharp rise in the number of requests they’ve received from members of the LGBT community wishing to leave the country. According to Ksenia Mikhailova, a lawyer from the LGBT group Exit, the number of requests for help had increased and those requests were now "more urgent” in nature.

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