Human Rights Court ticks Russia off

Europe’s top human rights court ruled on Tuesday that Russia’s prohibition of “the promotion of homosexuality” discriminates and violates freedom of expression.

The prohibition became Russian law in 2013.

The case was brought to the court by three gay activists in Russia.

The European Court of Human Rights found that “the very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied” was “discriminatory and, over all, served no legitimate public interest” and ordered Russia to pay the men a total of 43,000 euros in damages.

The three activists who sued were Nikolai V. Bayev, 42; Aleksei A. Kiselev, 33; and Nikolai A. Alekseyev, 39. They had staged demonstrations from 2009 to 2012 in the cities of Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg, carrying banners stating that homosexuality is natural, and not a perversion. They were arrested and fined.

Captain Convicted

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South Korea’s Rainbow Flag | Yay Images | 17096

A military court in South Korea sentenced an army captain to six months in prison on Wednesday for having sex with other servicemen, igniting an outcry against what rights groups called a homophobic “witch hunt” in the country’s military.

The prison term for the captain was suspended for one year, so if he did not break the law again in the next year, he would not go to prison but he will be dishonorably discharged (unless his conviction is overturned by an appeals court).

The captain, whose name was not disclosed, collapsed when the verdict was announced in military court, and was taken to a hospital after hurting his head, said Lim Tae-hoon, the director of the Military Human Rights Centre.

The South Korean military criminal code outlaws sodomy and other unspecified “disgraceful conduct” between servicemen, whether or not there is mutual consent and whether or not that conduct takes place in or outside military compounds. Those found to have violated the act face up to two years in prison.

In South Korea powerful right-wing Christian groups have intensified a campaign against homosexuality, scuttling a bill that would have given sexual minorities the same protections as other minority groups.

The captain was arrested days before he was scheduled to leave the army. All of his sexual activities were consensual and took place in private spaces, like his home. None of the servicemen the captain had sex with served in his unit.

Gay marriage okayed in Taiwan

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters | 17095

A top Taiwan court ruled for of gay marriage today, in a landmark ruling that paves the way for the island to become the first place in Asia to legalise same sex unions.

Twelve of 14 judges in the court, the Judicial Yuan, said current marriage laws violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.

Taiwan’s government has two years to implement the ruling.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/taiwan-top-court-rules-favour-gay-marriage-170524063603646.html

More raids as Indonesia goes mad

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Polda Metro | 17094

Indonesian police have arrested dozens of men accused of holding a ‘gay sex party’ at a gym and sauna in Jakarta.

Officers raided a venue called Atlantis in the late hours of Sunday and arrested 141 men including one Briton and one Singaporean.

Police said up to 10 men could be charged under the country’s harsh pornography laws.

Pictures circulating online showed topless men sitting crammed in a room next to gym equipment after the police raid.

Those found guilty of breaking the laws face up to 10 years in jail.

People arrested in earlier raids were forced to have HIV tests.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4529014/Indonesian-police-make-mass-arrests-gay-party.html

Bangladesh arrests

27 men have been arrested in Bangladesh by the Rapid Action Battalion on suspicion of being gay, which is a criminal offence in Bangladesh. Police plan to charge them with drug possession.

Mostly students aged 20-30 years, the men were arrested in a raid on a community centre at Keraniganj early today.

Zahangir Hossain Matobbar said they recovered illegal drugs and condoms and plan to charge them with drug offences, not homosexuality, because they were detained before they had engaged in sex.

The owner of the community centre, where the suspects used to gather every two months and stay overnight for partying, was arrested.

Bangladesh is a dangerous place for gays and lesbians. 35-year-old Xulhaz Mannan, a USAID official, was hacked to death in April last year at his home after founding Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine.

Since then, many gays and lesbians have left Bangladesh after they received death threats.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bangladesh-authorities-arrest-27-men-gay-homosexuality-muslim-country-islam-police-charge-a7744366.html

Stay clear of Indonesia

Prosecutors in Indonesia’s Aceh province want two young gay men named as MT and MH to be punished with 80 strokes of the cane for being gay.

They are due to be sentenced next week and will become the first people in Indonesia to be punished for homosexuality.

The pair are aged 20 and 23 and pleaded guilty before a sharia court in Banda Aceh on Wednesday. The two men face a maximum punishment of 100 strokes of the cane, but prosecutors suggested they may only receive 80 strokes because they were young and had admitted their guilt.

Aceh province introduced sharia law under a peace deal with the Indonesian Government to end a civil war in Aceh.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-10/indonesia-prosecutors-demand-gay-couple-be-caned/8515498

Step up for gay rights in Hong Kong

A gay civil servant’s husband will be entitled to the same benefits as his heterosexual colleagues’ spouses after a successful legal challenge against government policy.

In a “rare judicial recognition” of the city’s gay community, the High Court rejected the Civil Service Bureau’s stance that it was denying benefits for same-sex spouses to protect “the integrity of the institution of marriage”.

Leung Chun-kwong, who married his partner Scott Adams in New Zealand in 2014, launched the challenge last year against the secretary for the civil service and the commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department, which was reluctant to recognise their union.

The Court of First Instance ruled in Leung’s favour against the bureau in an unprecedented decision that may have an immediate bearing on other gay civil servants who married overseas.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2091507/landmark-win-gay-hong-kong-civil-servant-over-husbands

Breaking the mould in the Philipines

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Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, in the yellow top, is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the Philippines. Geraldine replaced her mother as a district representative after the 2016 elections.

“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.

The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.

Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.

But Roman’s win meant a lot to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti – sexual orientation and gender identity expression discrimination bill.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2090744/transgender-politician-fighting-gay-rights-philippines

Zero. None. And Six Prisons full.

As we have been told repeatedly, there are no gays in Chechnya. None at all. Zilch. Ne rien. Absolutely none at all. There can’t be a round-up of gay men, because there are none in Chechnya.

And six prisons are full of them.

Reports had initially centred on two jails in the villages of Argun and Tsotsi-Yurt. But Novaya Gazeta, the respected Russian newspaper that made the initial claims, now says there are a further four prisons illegally holding men for their sexual orientation, reports the Daily Mail.

The men, who face torture in jail, are only released once their families offer bribes to police.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4440258/At-SIX-prisons-holding-gay-men-Chechen-Republic.html