2010-08-23 17:12:00

Russian gays challenge official at European Court of Human Rights

Moscow, August 23, Interfax - Russian gay rights activists have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights over the refusal of a Moscow official to authorize protests demanding his resignation in 2009.

"Moscow gay pride parade organizers lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights on Monday. They complained about the authorities' refusal to authorize two pickets demanding the resignation of Moscow northern administrative district prefect Oleg Mitvol last year," one of the organizers, Nikolay Alexeyev, told Interfax on Monday.

Gay rights activists have accused Mitvol of inciting hatred.

The two protests were planned for August 24, 2009, "against the Mitvol campaign against the popular Moscow gay club, Soul and Body, which resulted in the closure of the club," Alexeyev said.

One was due to take place near the building of the Moscow northern administrative district prefecture and the other in Novopushkinsky Park in central Moscow.

"Prefect Mitvol did not allow the picket. He claimed that the requested site had already been taken [by another organization to hold an event]. After that, the prefect dragged out coordination of another 17 applications filed by gay activists," Alexeyev said.

The central administrative district prefecture banned the other demonstration under a similar pretext and did not offer the organizers an alternative location.

Gay activists appealed to the Moscow Koptevo and Tagansky District Courts, but the courts upheld the decisions. The Moscow City Court made the same judgment.