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Brussels Delight at Court Ruling on Moscow Gay Pride
 
“Alekseev is a global hero in the human rights and gay rights fights” - Doug Ireland

 
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Sophie in't Veld MEP, pictured at Moscow Pride in 2006: “Who knows, this will pave the way to one day taking part in a real celebratory Pride march in Moscow ... that would be fantastic.”
photo: UK Gay News

 

 

BRUSSELS, October 21, 2010    There was delight in Brussels following the ruling this morning in Strasbourg by the European Court of Human Rights on Moscow Pride.

I was myself at two Pride marches in Moscow in 2006 and 2007, and I am delighted by the outcome of this case,” MEP Sophie in't Veld, a vice president of the Parliament’s all-party ‘Intergroup’ of LGBT right, told UK Gay News by e-mail.

“We’ve seen that Russian authorities have recently taken steps forward to allow for certain LGBT events for the first time ever; let us hope the Court’s ruling will contribute to a climate of further democratisation in Russia, allowing it to join the family of democratic and free nations, and allow LGBT people to finally take their rightful place in society.

“Who knows, this will pave the way to one day taking part in a real celebratory Pride march in Moscow ... that would be fantastic.”

And Maxim Anmeghichean, ILGA-Europe’s programmes director who also attended Moscow Pride in 2006 and 2007, said in a statement: “We congratulate Russian LGBTI activists with this important legal victory.

“We believe they are now equipped with a very solid legal tool to fully exercise their constitutional right to organise public events and express their opinions.

“Moreover, today’s decision reinforces the duty of the Russian state to provide full and adequate protection to LGBTI public events from any attempts to disturb them or from those who violently oppose these events.”

In London, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) also warmly welcomed the decision of the European Court of Human Rights

GALHA members strongly supported and attended the first Moscow Pride in 2006 and in November of that year Nikolai Alekseev was the guest of honour at the GALHA annual lunch where he received a special award for his bravery and determination in fighting for LGBT Rights in Moscow.

 “I know that GALHA members, and will be very excited to hear this news,” GALHA Secretary Mike Rickwood said in a statement this afternoon.

“There were no greater and apparently more powerful bullies than the ex Mayor of Moscow, and his political and religious cronies.

“Yet despite all their attempts to trample on the rights of LGBT people in Moscow, it was the brave campaigners that prevailed.

“Let this news give heart to very LGBT person who is being bullied and harassed around the world,” added Mr Rickwood.

Continued below photograph

 


German politician Volker Beck, who was assaulted during the 2006 Moscow Pride: The reprisals against Nikolay Alekseeev, who was recently illegally detained and then abducted in an attempt to ensure he withdrew his legal challenges in Strasbourg, must cease.
photo: UK Gay News

 


Volker Beck, the First Parliamentary Secretary and spokesman on human rights for the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group in the German Bundestag (Parliament) said in a statement from Berlin: “This is a very good day for Russia and for the human rights of the Russian people.

 “The European Court of Human Rights has once again issued a strong, landmark ruling. The CSD (Gay Pride) ban in Moscow was discriminatory and unlawful in every respect.  It violated freedom of assembly, freedom of opinion, and the right to equality of lesbian and gay people.

“The government of the Russian Federation must now ensure that the principles set out in the judgment are applied consistently by the authorities in the case of future marches by gay people or opposition groups.

“All too often, the Russian Federation merely pays fines imposed by the ECHR without paying any further heed to the principles set out in the rulings,” the German politician, who is himself openly gay, pointed out.

“The reprisals against Nikolay Alekseeev, who was recently illegally detained and then abducted in an attempt to ensure he withdrew his legal challenges in Strasbourg, must cease.

“A month ago, Moscow’s infamous mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, was sacked.  Thanks to the ECHR, the “Luzhkov system” is now also on its way out.  The suppression of human and civil rights, which is incompatible with the rule of law, must now be curbed step by step.

“Russia under Putin is a new type of dictatorship,” he suggested.

“Opening up this system is a lengthy process.  For Russian citizens seeking justice, the European Court of Human Rights is the only source of hope.  Now the ball is in the court of the Russian authorities and judiciary.

“Widespread nihilism with regard to human rights must come to an end at last.  The President must show that his reform measures are more than just PR.

“The ruling has come as no surprise.  The Court took the same decision on the CSD (Gay Pride) ban in Warsaw.

“It is therefore also a scandal that the Russian Federation and the City of Moscow have not heeded the Court’s past judgments and their own legislation on freedom of assembly,” he concluded.

Mr. Beck has attended several Gay Prides in Moscow, and was injured in two of them.

Respected veteran American gay journalist Doug Ireland said that Mr. Alekseev’s strategy for his activism was “brilliant” and “an inspiration”.

Queers have always been at the forefront of social change, although that fact often goes ignored,” Mr. Ireland told UK Gay News by e-mail.

“What the valiant Nikolai Alekseev and his courageous comrades have done in winning this victory for freedom of speech and assembly in the ECHR has not only struck a major assault for gay rights, it has humiliated a liberticide regime and expanded the rights of ALL Russians.

“The persistence and patience of Kolya Alekseev, who has been targeted for the worst sort of police-state harassment and even kidnapped by the Putin regime for his gay activism, are an inspiration to human rights activists the world over.

“Moreover, his brilliant strategy of combining radical direct action in the streets with never-ending legal actions to insist that Russia adhere to its own constitutional guarantees of liberty as well as to those of the treaties to which it is signatory has been completely vindicated.

“Alekseev is a global hero in the human rights and gay rights fights,” Mr. Ireland concluded.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COURT RULING (PDF file)

SEE ALSO

Victory in Strasbourg for Alekseev and Russian Gay Rights.

 There were tears of joy in Moscow from Nikolai Alekseev and other Russian gay activists at lunchtime today (October 21) as the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg published its ruling which unanimously upheld the complaints lodged with the Court over the banning of three Moscow Gay Prides.  (UK Gay News, October 21, 2010)

Russian Gay Activist Alekseev Arrested With Others At Anti-Luzhkov Rally in Moscow.  Nikolai Alekseev, Russia’s high profile gay activist, was among eleven activists reported to have been arrested outside Moscow City Hall this evening.  They were taking part in a demonstration against the homophobic mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, and his “faggots” remark which a Moscow court ruled rfecently was not hate speech.  (UK Gay News, September 21, 2010)

English Translation of Russian Gay Activist Nikolai Alekseev’s Account of His Kidnapping: As It Was ... My Abduction.  By Nikolai Alekseev.  On September 15th nothing could have prepared me for what happened over the next three days.  (UK Gay News, September 19, 2010)

Russian Gay Activist: I Never Was in Minsk – I Never Sent Any SMS Messages.   “Abducted” Alekseev surfaces in Russia, not Belarus.  “I never was in Minsk … My phone was taken from me two days ago …”  These are the actual – and remarkable – words of Nikolai Alekseev, the gay Russian activist and chief organiser of Moscow Pride, who has surfaced somewhere in Russia.  (UK Gay News, September 17, 2010)

Questions Have to be Answered by Authorities in Russia and Belarus as Doubts Emerge About Well-Being of Russian Gay Activist.  Commentary by Andy Harley.   Has Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev actually been released?  And is he really in Minsk?  These are questions being asked by Belarusian gay activists in Minsk this afternoon.  (UK Gay News, September 17, 2010)

MEP on Russia Gay Rights: Alekseev’s Arrest Is of “Deep Concern”.   An MEP has expressed “deep concern” following the arrest yesterday evening of Nikolai Alekseev, the high-profile Russian gay activist who was detained at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow as he was about to board a Swiss Air Lines flight to Geneva.  Sarah Ludford, the LibDem MEP who sits with the ALDE group in the European Parliament, hit out at the Russian authorities today.  (UK Gay News, September 16, 2010)

Alekseev: “They Want Me to Withdraw the Complaints to European Court over Moscow Gay Pride”.  Russian authorities have detained the organiser of Moscow Gay Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, and are requiring him to abandon a picket, demanding the resignation of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.  The authorities are also demanding that he withdraws lawsuits lodged with the European Court of Human Rights over the banning of Moscow Gay Prides over the past five years. (UK Gay News, September 16, 2010)

Russian Gay Activist Arrested at Moscow Airport As He Was About to Board Swiss Air Lines Flight to Geneva.  Russia’s best known gay rights activist was arrested this evening at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.  And there are concerns as, so far, officials are not giving out any information about his whereabouts.  (UK Gay News, September 15, 2010)

 

 

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Posted: 21 October 2010 at 12:00 (UK time)
(updated at 12:45, 16:00 and 21:00)

   
             
       

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