St Petersburg Activist Spared Gay Propaganda Conviction
A straight Russian man who was arrested for breaking St. Petersburg’s gay propaganda law has been found guilty of “disobeying police orders,” but the presiding judge refused to invoke the more stringent gay propaganda ban.
This has led to speculation that even Russia’s judicial branch is wary of the law.
Sergey Kondrashov said in a statement, that he believes the courts are too trepidatious to test the new law.
Kondrashov said he intends to continue the fight over this law by appealing the ruling. “The courts are afraid of applying this law and do not want to take responsibility for its further enforcement practice. The decision of the judge is illogical and questionable not only to the lawyers eyes, but also to common citizens’ ones. I am determined to appeal against this ruling,” Kondrashov said in a statement. Kondrashov, who is himself a lawyer, further explained that the judge’s failure to rule on article 7.1 [gay propaganda law] was illogical because it isn’t possible to disobey a police order without first determining whether the person was violating a law that warranted the order in the first place.
The judge specifically stated in making his ruling that the more significant charge of so-called gay propaganda was not invoked by the court because of a lack of evidence and protocols on how to decide whether a violation of the law had occurred.
This is extremely interesting because several rights groups and legal commentators have said that the ban is so broad and so vague that there is no clear idea of what constitutes gay propaganda.
Kondrashov was arrested with other protesters on April 7 for holding a pro-LGBT sign in public.
Earlier this month it also emerged that the propaganda law likely had US origins.