”Foreign Agent” case against the Director of Coming Out dropped
The District Court of St. Petersburg repealed the Magistrate’s Court decision to fine the director of the LGBT organisation Coming Out with the maximum amount of 300 000 roubles for violating the law on “foreign agents”. However, the case under the “foreign agents” law against the Organisation was returned to the Magistate’s Court for re-trial by the District Court on 25 July.
“We welcome the decision by the District Court to drop the case against the Director but the fact that the case against the organisation is still in process raises great concerns. Coming Out work to protect the rights of Russian citizens and it is very upsetting that they can be charged under this law”, says Cecilia Rosing, Program Officer at Civil Rights Defenders
Coming Out, one of Russia’s most prominent LGBT organizations, and its Director was in June sentenced for not registering as a “foreign agent” by the magistrate’s court in Saint Petersburg based on the provisions of the so called “foreign agents law”. The law stipulates that all non-governmental organizations that receive funding from abroad and engage in loosely defined “political activity” have to register as “foreign agents”. The law is part of a range of legislative initiatives targeting civil society and violating human rights that has been passed during Russia’s current President Vladimir Putin’s third term. For more information:
“We welcome the fact that there are still judges able to impartially and objectively examine a case against such an “unpopular” organization as an LGBT rights organization. However, we continue to keep our finger on the pulse, because the Prosecution can still protest the judgment.” – says Coming Out’s lawyer, Kseniya Kirichenko.
On July 25, 2013, the same District Court repealed the decision made by the magistrate’s court to fine the organisation Coming Out with 500 000 rubles, around 12 600 EUR, for violating the law on “foreign agents”, sending the case back to the magistrate’s court for re-trial.
The process against Coming Out is part of a large-scale campaign against civil society launched by Russian authorities all over the country. In 2013 several organizations have been sentenced for non-complying with the “foreign agents law”, among them the LGBT organization Side by Side that on 6 June was found guilty and fined with 12 500 EUR. In their case, July 26 the District Court upheld the decision. Several other NGOs have received warnings from the Prosecutor’s Office. For more information:
Tags: Coming Out, Law on foreign agents, LGBT, Persecution of civil society, and St Petersburg.