2019-08-12 14:53:00

Gay couple with adopted children can't return to Russia yet - rights activists

Moscow, August 12, Interfax - The same-sex family raising two children currently cannot return to Russia for fear of violations of the family's privacy, the LGBT human rights community Vykhod told Interfax.

"The return is hindered by the actions of law enforcement agencies, which cast doubt on the safety and security of the family's private life. In this situation, the family has not yet decided whether it is safe for them to return to Russia. They are now on vacation until early September, when the school year starts. The main thing for the parents is to protect their family and create a safe space for their children. Therefore, the couple and the children relocated to a different country after their vacation in Kiev (we cannot specify the country for safety reasons)," human rights activists said.

According to earlier reports, a criminal case against the child protective service officials who allowed the adoption of two boys by a gay couple had been opened in Moscow, the first of its kind.

The Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against officials of the social protection services in the Maryino neighborhood of Moscow's Southeastern Administrative District. The officials have been charged with improper fulfilment of duties to supervise the living conditions of adopted children due to negligence leading to a considerable violation of the rights and lawful interests of citizens, as well as the interests of the state protected by law, the press service for the Russian Investigative Committee told Interfax.

"According to the investigators, a man has raised two young adopted boys while living with another man since 2010. He promotes non-traditional relations, cultivating in the children distorted ideas of family values, harming their health and moral and spiritual development," the Investigative Committee said.

The residences of the gay couple and the parents and the brother of one of the men were then searched. According to the organization, the men are witnesses in the case. They had not been notified about the searches, which were conducted when they were on vacation abroad, Vykhod said. They do not plan to return.

The lawyers for the family are now trying to become familiar with the materials of the probes and the protocols of investigative actions, but they are not being given any documents and their written inquiries are being ignored. The searches will be appealed in court this week. The defense attorneys are confident that the searches of the residences of the "witnesses" (the case was in fact opened against the child protective services) and the way they were conducted (early in the morning, the door to the apartment was broken) are "nothing else than an attempt to pressure a same-sex couple to take the children from them."

"The parents and the children are now in a safe country. One of the reasons why it happened is that high-ranking officials interfere in family affairs, forcing their own ideas of life on society and trying to take the case from the legal realm to a political one. The same-sex parents have not broken any laws and therefore the pressure on them should immediately stop. The children want to live with their parents," Max Olenichev, a legal adviser with the LBGT group Vykhod, told Interfax.

The Russian Family Code does not prohibit adoptions of children by single people, LGBT group Vykhod said.