A Revolving Door of Court Verdicts against Children-404
It’s getting hard to keep track of the case against Elena Klimova and her organization, Children-404.
The group’s name refers to the “page not found” Internet error code, signifying the invisibility lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens face in Russia. Children-404 provided a virtual community for Russian LGBT youth to share coming out stories, post letters, and find support. After Russia’s propaganda law was passed in 2013, outlawing the promotion of “nontraditional sexual relationships,” the group came under fire.
In February 2014 Klimova was found not guilty. Less than a year later she was charged again, and in January 2015 a Russian court fined her for violating the propaganda law. On March 25th, that verdict was overturned on procedural grounds. Her case was to be re-tried this month, but it just came to light that another court quietly reviewed Klimova’s case on March 25th and found her guilty again.
Children-404 is now banned from its main hosting site, Vkontakte. Russian LGBT youth have lost a refuge and lifeline. Outside of Russia, Children-404 will remain on Facebook.