2012-05-02 14:54:00

Gay pride parade organizers demand compensation for ban on parades

Moscow, May 2, Interfax - The Russian LGBT community has contested the ban on the 2011 gay pride parade in Moscow with the European Court of Human Rights.

"The organizers of last year's Moscow gay pride parade on Wednesday, May 2 filed a claim against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights, alleging that the ban imposed by the Moscow authorities on public events of the May 2011 gay pride parade contradicted the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms," the gay community said on its official website on Wednesday.

The claim was filed with the Strasbourg Court by Nikolay Alexeyev, founder of the Moscow gay pride parade movement, and his mother Irina Alexeyeva, the report states. The organizers are demanding 100,000 euro in moral damages.

"In his claim filed with the European Court, Nikolay Alexeyev and Irina Alexeyeva accuse the Moscow authorities of violating Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly), Article 13 (right to judicial protection), and Article 14 (ban on discrimination) of the European Convention," the report says.

The report states that then-Moscow Mayor Lyudmila Shvetsova on May 6, 2011 banned a cultural and education rally organized by the Moscow gay pride parade organizers, which was scheduled to take place on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 28, 2011.

As a result of the bans, the rally organizers decided to hold two rallies on May 28, 2011: on Moscow's Manezh Square and on Tverskaya Square in front of the Moscow mayor's office.

"Dozens of activists were detained by the police and were attacked by extremists. Novaya Gazeta journalist Yelena Kostyuchenko was seriously injured, but the person who hurt her was never prosecuted," the document says.

The organizers tried to contest the bans in Russian courts, but to no avail. The Moscow Tverskoy District Court declined the claim on August 19, 2011, and the decision was upheld by the Moscow City Court on November 14. The claimants filed an appeal with the Moscow City Court, but it was declined in early April 2012.

Alexeyev said that "we are not losing hope to get justice in Russian courts despite our claim filed with the Strasbourg Court. In the next few days, we will file appeals on this case with the Supreme Court. If it takes our side, we will withdraw our claim from Strasbourg, and if it doesn't, Russia will lose anther case in the European Court."

According to earlier reports, gay activists intend to hold the seventh Moscow gay pride parade on May 27. The organizers are going to notify the Moscow mayor of their intention to hold the parade in mid-May.