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.
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Hundreds of thousands of revelers gathered in Sao Paulo on Sunday for one of the world’s largest gay pride parades with this year’s event focusing on the threat of religious fundamentalism to Brazil’s LGBT community.
Organizers said they expected 3 million people to participate in Sao Paulo’s 21st annual gay pride parade.
Some people held up signs portraying Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as drag queens.
Two men from Chechnya have told Reuters they were detained by police and subjected to torture and beatings because they were gay.
Seeing his rings and bracelets, the policemen asked if he was “a faggot” and beat him severely, the man said in an interview.
“Then they … forced me to tie a cable to my little toe and to my little finger. I was forced to do it myself, to attach the wires. And then they started using electric shocks,” he said.
The accounts that the two men gave could not be independently verified by Reuters. They fit in, however, with a pattern of persecution described by other sources.
Nikita Safronov, a Moscow-based LGBT activist, said almost 100 people from Chechnya had already got in touch via an LGBT-network hotline, and that more than 40 of them had been “evacuated”. Some had already left Russia, he added.
The Scottish Episcopal Church will hold a historic vote this year on whether to allow gay couples to marry in church.
If the vote is passed, it will become the first Anglican Church in the UK to allow same-sex marriage.
Supporters hope that if their arguments hold, gay couples will be walking down the aisles of some Scottish churches within the year.
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France welcomed its first gay refugee from Chechnya on Monday on the same day French President Emmanuel Macron pushed Russian leader Vladimir Putin to investigate the treatment and imprisonment of transgender and gay people in Chechnya, which is led by pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited Paris to hold talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and to open a French and Russian exhibition. Mr Macron said that Putin had promised “the whole truth”.
“I had the chance to bring up how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities and all sensibilities in a civil society,” he said, as Mr Putin stood beside him listening to the translation.
“President Putin told me… he had undertaken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya with measures aimed at establishing the whole truth about the activities of local authorities,” Macron said at a press conference with Putin after talks in Versailles. “I spelled out France’s expectations very precisely.”
Mr Macron warned Mr Putin that he would monitor further civil rights violations of gay people in Chechnya. The pair of leaders shook hands for the cameras in front of the Palace of Versailles, but their body language appeared tense.
It is reported that Russian officials are examining claims that a deadly anti-homosexual purge has been unfolding in Chechnya. Detainees who spoke to the Guardian reported being held in a secret location for days or weeks, beaten and tortured with electric shocks.
After international outcry, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been briefed on the situation by the country’s human rights ombudsman, Tatyana Moskalkova. The Guardian reports there is evidence Russian authorities are investigating the allegations.
Human rights groups have urged Moscow to investigate the reported abuse and alleged deaths of gay men. German Chancellor Angela Merkel confronted Putin about the issue during a recent meeting with him.
Today Human Rights Watch issued details of alleged abuses of gay men at the hands of Chechen authorities. The report says the men who are released face reprisals not only from Chechen security forces, but also from their own families.
Chechnya is an extremely conservative society and homosexuality is considered a “stain” on the family honour.
A spokesperson for Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s strongman leader, again dismissed reports of the purge by saying that there are no gay people in the quasi-independent state. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” he said, according to the New York Times.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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.