Confusion: Moscow Appeal Court OKs Gay Pride Ban … But St. Petersburg Judge Rules Ban in Second City Was Illegal

Published: November 14, 2011

It appears that in the Russian judicial system the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

This morning, the Moscow City Court confirmed a previous decision given on August 19, upholding the ban of the Moscow Gay Pride at the end of May.

But in St Petersburg, a first instance Court said the opposite!  The ban of Slavic Gay Pride last June was illegal the Vasileostrovskiy district court of St. Petersburg ruled.

Fourteen people were arrested and detained on June 25 for defying the ban imposed by the city authorities.

The situation gets weirder.  A year ago, in St Petersburg, three Courts found that the St Petersburg Governor breached the law by banning what was the city’s first Gay Pride attempt in June 2010.  But the decision did not prevent the Governor to keep banning this year’s Pride.

Back in Moscow, the Court refused point blank to take into consideration the decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Alekseyev v. Russia which found the ban of the Moscow Gay Pride in 2006, 2007 and 2008 was a violation of articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.  This ruling in Strasbourg became “final” in April – and was totally ignored by Moscow City Hall when it came to the application to stage Moscow Pride this year.

“We will immediately appeal this decision to the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR] to show that Russia refused to enforce the Court’s decision,” Nikolai Alekseev told UK Gay News following today’s ruling.

“The ball is now with the Council of Europe, and the Council has a duty to make Russia respect the European Convention on Human Rights and the decisions of the European Court which are binding for the country or, I do not know what is the use of this institution and why it was created,” Mr. Nikolai Alekseev, the applicant in the case, added.

Russia has rarely taken any notice of ECHR rulings.  But it does pay the financial damages and costs imposed by the court.  Mr. Alekseev received his cheque from the Russian Government last summer.

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