RUSSIA/KOMI REPUBLIC

Russian Gay Activist Accused of Breach of 1923 Convention

 



 

 
 

 

 

 

MOSCOW, September 15 (GayRussia wire)  –   Details of the criminal case against Russian gay activist Maxim Lazarev are emerging from the Komi Republic, some 1,500 kilometres north east of Moscow.

A criminal file was opened September 2 on the basis of article 242 of the Criminal Code of Russia.

In the official charge it is said that “in the period between 1 June 2004 and 25 August 2005 Maxim Lazarev intentionally located at the unique address on the Internet www.komiproekt.com advertisement modules – banners, advertising visions which are admitted as pornographic. Access to the Internet recourses is open for unlimited circle of people, is being done without special authorization and identification. Thus, Maxim Lazarev in breach of paragraph 4 Article 1 of the International convention concerning the circulation of pornographic materials and their sales from 12 September 1923 illegally advertised visual materials which are pornographic, thus he committed a crime covered by article 242 of the Criminal Code of Russia”.  [Note that the date in 1923 refers to they year the Article was effective]

Maxim Lazarev, head of the project “Another Life” actively supported LGBT rights in Russia.  He publicly announced his intention to organize a gay parade in his city of Syktyvkar, the capital of Komi – and he fully supported the planned Pride in Moscow next year.

He worked to diversify life in his region by organizing regular parties for gays and lesbians in the city where there are no openly gay venues and active gay life, published a newspaper for gays and lesbians and maintained the website site of his project “Another Life” which is in the centre of prosecution accusations.

Yesterday (September 14), Maxim was interrogated for the second time.  All the charges against him were confirmed.

They are based on the printed materials from the site www.komiproekt.com  This site had a system of frames. In other words, when you click on an article or advert banner the target is displayed within a frame, and not in a new window.

None of the materials which the prosecutors considered pornographic had been located on the server of www.komiproekt.com.

The next interrogation is scheduled early next week.  It is expected that this case will raised during a press conference in Moscow on Monday (September 20) for Moscow Pride.

“Maxim’s computer has been confiscated and is still being inspected by the prosecution,” said Nikolai Alexeyev who heads Project GayRussia.  “He is not allowed to leave the city while the case is being investigated.

“Maxim has seen all the campaign abroad in his support and thanks everyone for the publicity on his case in different languages and countries.”

Project GayRussia.Ru, as member of International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), decided to nominate Maxim Lazarev to the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe, regional organization of ILGA.

The last day for nominations was September 14 and all the relevant documents concerning his candidature have been sent to ILGA-Europe headquarters in Brussels.

He is expected to be the only nominee from Russia. “We think that being the biggest country in Europe, Russia has to be represented in the Board of the most influential LGBT organization in Europe,” said Alexeyev.  “There is no better candidate than an activist from the region who has stayed out of gay politics and gay scandals in Russia.”

Alexeyev confirmed that project GayRussia.ru will fight for the full acquittal of  Maxim Lazarev and for his appointment in the board of ILGA-Europe organization.  The decision will be taken during ILGA conference in Paris at the end of October.  “We appeal to all organizations and members of ILGA to support the candidature of Maxim Lazarev and to help fight for his full acquittal,” he said.

See also: Gay Russian Activist On Website Porn Charges.  A gay activist from the Komi Republic in the Russian Federation has been charged with pornography on his non-pornographic website.  And other gay activists in Russia are fearing the start of a wide-ranging clampdown on gay websites and publications. (September 12)

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Posted: 15 September 2005

 

 

 

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