2010-10-22 10:55:00

Strasbourg court finds Moscow authorities' ban on gay pride parades illegal

Moscow, October 22, Interfax - The European Court of Human Rights has found the Moscow authorities' refusals to allow gay pride parades to be illegal, Nikolay Alexeyev, leader of the Russian gay movement, said.

"On Thursday, October 21, the European Court of Human Rights handed out its historical verdict on Russia, ruling the bans on three public gay pride parades in Moscow (in 2006, 2007, and 2008) to be in breach of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms," Alexeyev said.

Alexeyev said the European Court has ordered Russia to pay the organizers of the gay rallies 17,000 euros in compensation for legal costs and 12,000 euros in moral damages.

"The Strasbourg court has ruled that by declining to allow 164 marches and pickets planned by gay activists on May 27, 2006, May 27, 2007, and May 27, 2008 Russia violated Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly) and Article 14 (ban on discrimination), and Article 13 (right to effective legal defense) of the European Convention," Alexeyev said.

Alexeyev said the European Court ruling is expected to become effective in three months, a period of time given to the parties to contest the ruling in the Grand Chamber. "Decisions made by the European Court are binding on the territory of the Russian Federation, which is a member of the Council of Europe," he said.

"We, gay activists, have become the first human rights activists in Russia to get their right to freedom of assembly protected in the European Court. In addition, we have won a victory for all organizers of public events because now the Russian authorities will have to reconsider their entire procedures associated with allowing public events," he said.