Managers of Russian gay club arrested in first prosecution of LGBT people for ‘extremism’

A court in the city of Orenburg, in southwestern Russia, placed both the manager and the artistic director of Pose, a local gay club, in pretrial detention for two months on Wednesday.

Pose’s manager Diana Kamilyanova and its artistic director Alexander Klimov, who stand accused of “organising activities for an extremist organisation”, are believed to be the first members of Russia’s LGBT community prosecuted since the “international LGBT movement” was deemed “extremist” by the country’s Supreme Court last year.

The pair’s detention follows a police raid on the establishment on 12 March, which was prompted by accusations of “LGBT extremism” made by local far-right activists.

Yekaterina Mizulina, who leads pro-censorship NGO the Safe Internet League posted on Monday about the criminal charges in connection to activities at the club.

The crackdown on LGBT groups and queer safe spaces since the passing of the anti-LGBT ruling has seen individuals arrested for sharing LGBT symbols and queer venues raided and forced to close.

Amnesty International’s Russia director Natalya Zviagina criticised the Russian authorities over the case, drawing particular attention to how the cooperation between far-right nationalists and law enforcement had established “an environment of impunity for homophobic and transphobic attacks” and was contributing to “a climate of fear” for Russia’s queer community.

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