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March 25, 2015

Rare Victory for a Russian LGBT Activist

In a rare victory for the human rights of LGBT Russians, the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Nizhny Tagil overturned the January 23rd conviction of Elena Klimova for "promotion of homosexuality." 

Klimova is the creator and director of Children-404, an online community where LGBT teenagers can share coming out stories, post letters, and find advice and support. The site also provides resources for adults and allies.

She was found guilty despite numerous problems with the case, including mistakes in the judge's ruling, failure to meet official requirements for such a verdict, and, most egregious, her lack of an attorney for the conclusion of the trial. She asked for a delay but was convicted and fined 50,000 Rubles. 

This was the second time that Klimova was prosecuted under the now infamous propaganda law. Last year, Klimova was acquitted by the same court for her work with Children-404. 

Unfortunately, her latest victory may be short-lived. The case will now be presented before a new judge.

Since its passage, the 2013 propaganda law has intensified an already-hostile environment for LGBT Russians. As the government cracks down on peaceful LGBT activists, bias-motivated violence against the LGBT community has been met with impunity.​

The international community should support Russia’s brave activists like Klimova and pressure the Russian government to respect the human rights of all of its citizens.