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ussia Cracks Down On Gay Rights Group


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ussia Cracks Down On Gay Rights Group

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: September 12, 2005 9:00 pm ET

(Moscow) Russian police have raided the offices of the LGBT project “Another Life” in the city of Syktyvkar and arrested its leader, Maxim Lazarev, on charges of pornography.

Police accuse Lazarev of advertising pornography on the group's website, a charge he denies.

Police seized Lazarev's computer, he was interrogated by police and is currently waiting for a court hearing of his case. If found guilty, he could face up to two years in jail or a huge fine.

“Another Life” has been active in calling for a gay pride parade in Syktyvkar and has been a vocal supporter of a parade in Moscow.

Russia's leading LGBT rights group, GayRussia.Ru, says it is unclear at this time if the arrest is an individual attack against Lazarev or the start of a wide ranging national anti-gay campaign.

In a statement, GayRussia.Ru said that Another Life's website did not contain pornography but noted that it participated in a banner program that may have contained offensive material.

The organization said that the police action followed Lazarev's endorsement of Moscow Pride and after he gave a long and detailed interview to the project GayRussia.Ru about gay life in his region.

The group wants to hold the first pride celebration in the capital on May 27, 2006

In July Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that if he receives an official request from the groups it will be turned down without discussion. (story)

If Luzhkov denies them a parade permit GayRussia.Ru it will go to court and is prepared to take the case all the way to the European Court in Strasbourg.

Moscow is the biggest city in Europe never to have had a pride parade.

©365Gay.com 2005


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