Banned LGBT community group administrators plea to the Commissioner for human Rights in Russia

On March 16, the administrators of the LGBT community page “SQueer. We refuse to be invisible” in the social network “VKontakte” sent a complaint to the human rights ombudsperson Tatiana Moskal’kova. In their complaint Maxim Talyaiev and Andrey Nasonov say that the group was created with a view to “establish a stable society based on respect for human rights and tolerance to each other” and that it didn’t contain any forbidden information. The complainants also say that the public was denied access to the group’s internet page on the grounds of a subjective opinion of the prosecutor the city of Bryansk, who took legal action taking the case to court and there were no expert inquiry or opinion provided in the case.

In accordance with the law “On Commissioner for human rights in the Russian Federation”, the administrators of the public page request Tatiana Moskal’kova that “following consideration of this complaint, a conclusion should be sent to the Bryansk prosecution office stating the inadmissibility of violation of constitutional rights of citizens on the grounds stated in the complaint, and requesting more thorough investigations be carried out in similar cases and asking to lift the ban off the indicated internet resource”.

It is noteworthy that it was one and the same judge Yelena Karneyeva of the Soviet regional court who delivered the same verdicts on March the 15th in yet another case of Children-404 Group, and “SQueer. We refuse to be invisible”.

«For quite a long time we have been watching rather bemusedly as the Children-404 pages were being shut down. And here we are – the same phraseology, the same verdict delivered by one individual, the rule of one individual official at any one time. We were made invisible.

One would wonder what is so wrong about publishing news from publicly available sources, about discussing the current events that are somehow or other connected with the LGBT community? And this was exactly the part and parcel of our content. No pornography, no calls to become part of our community. However, apparently, the notoriously famous law on “propaganda among minors” is construed as a ban prohibiting any mention of gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

Our group was one of the most neutral in its content. Today our group has been shut down, tomorrow it there will be dozens of banned communities, who are not to the liking of just another prosecutor. They will be banned without thorough review, without any expert opinion. And a day after tomorrow the issue of LGBT will be ultimately forbidden. But the trouble is that this abbreviation stands for real people, who have their right to be.

We are not overestimating the outcomes of our complaint to the Human Rights Commissioner, or that it could help to obtain justice. But we want to be heard. As citizens of the state of law, we have the duty to assist the government bodies to guard against such errors”.

Maks Talyaliov, the administrator of the group “SQueer. We refuse to be invisible”