Russia arrests Dutch tourists on gay propaganda charges

How will this not happen during the Olympics!

By Cathy Kristofferson, July 21, 2013

lgbtrussiannetworkUpdates posted below.

So it has begun.  Russia today arrested tourists ‘violating’ their new anti-gay propaganda law.About an hour ago, the LGBT Russian Network posted on their Facebook wall:

“URGENT NEWS! In Murmansk city (North Russia) 3 Dutch citizens detained by the police on charges of gay-propaganda.

At the moment they were released from the police station. Police compiled reports on the violation of rules of stay in the territory of Russia and the violation of the law of the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.”

Court hearing will be at 9 a.m. (Moscow time) 22 July 2013.”

The anti-gay propaganda law was recently signed into law by Russian Prime Minister, Valdimir Putin. Its purpose is to ban so-called “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations”. Propaganda is defined in the the bill as:

“spreading information among children, aimed at forming non-traditional sexual behavior, suggesting this behavior is attractive, and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships”.

The use of the word “‘information” in the definition is so vague that in essence it serves to place a ban on anything which may be considered as “pro-gay”, from gay-affirmative speech, to same gender people holding hands in public, to wearing rainbow pins or waving a rainbow flag. And of course regardless of what is said, or where the incidence of so called “promotion” happens they will most likely claim a child “could” have been impacted.

The Russian LGBT Network is an inter-regional non-governmental organization (NGO) working on the federal level in Russia.  They try to get the State to acknowledge and obey a set of basic rights and freedoms essential for the protection of the human dignity of LGBT people and further work on human rights in Russia.  They certainly have their hands full.

If those 3 Dutch tourists are convicted of violating Russia’s new anti-gay propaganda law as they have been accused, they stand to be given heavy fines (up to $3,000 each), to be held for up to 14 days in a Russian prison, and then to be deported back to the Netherlands.

Is this what everyone attending the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games has to look forward to?

Sochi-Winter-OlympicsAnd what will the International Olympic Committee (IOC) say now?  They keep issuing bland Press Statements short on details, the latest a few days ago to Windy City Times, assuring everyone that athletes, coaches and all attendees will be safe. How can that be now that Russia has proven tourists are in fact not safe?

At the very least, these arrests must surely renew calls for boycotting Olympic sponsors to raise awareness of the situation faced by everyone who attends the Games, not to mention every Russian citizen and tourist daily.

From the RUSA LGBT call to boycott: “The major sponsors of the Sochi Olympic Games include the following international corporation: Coca-­‐Cola, Omega Watches, VISA, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, and Panasonic.”

Call for Coca-cola boycott is here.

We will watch and report further on these arrests following tomorrow morning’s hearing.

Updates:
7/22 From Russian LGBT Network: URGENT NEWS from Murmansk city: we have just been informed that the case with the Dutch activists will NOT be held today.

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9 Comments on “Russia arrests Dutch tourists on gay propaganda charges”

  1. Scott Rose July 21, 2013 at 7:34 PM #

    I am aghast that the Olympic Committee believes that safeguarding athletes during the Olympics is the most important concern. We need those dunderheads to understand that protecting the human rights of LGBT RUSSIANS is the most important issue here.

    • Cathy Kristofferson July 21, 2013 at 8:48 PM #

      I imagine the Olympic athletes are at no greater risk than Tilda Swinton so am hoping that they will use their privilege and show the same courage to raise the issue of the dangers EVERY Russian LGBT and ally faces every single day! That goes for every tourist that steps foot in Russia for whatever reason. I’m still dreaming of the image the athletes walking in to the Opening Ceremonies with little country flag in one hand and rainbow flag in the other would make!

      • Melanie Nathan July 21, 2013 at 9:16 PM #

        Pity we cant get some Get EQUAL folk to suddenly become great athletes – or we should get hold of these athletes and make the suggestion. It wouls be great if straight allies had the courage too.

  2. jerbearinsantafe July 21, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer News, Views & Memories and commented:
    This is an alarming development! I can’t of 2 European countries that are as polar opposite in their acceptance of the LGBT Communities then The Netherlands and Russia. This could affect the Olympics as Dutch Speed Skaters are well respected so if leads to a rift between countries then officials may be forced to confront Russia.

  3. Fred July 22, 2013 at 8:03 PM #

    Boycott Sochi, this would be the only way oppressive Russia will understand. You have to stand up to a bully. They invested lots of money in Sochi games and by boycotting you send a good message. However the Olympic CEO s will have no guts to implement such measure. No foreigner is safe under the current oppressive law in Russia & assurances to the contrary should not be trusted.

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