Youth Coalition member Evdokia Romanova, an LGBT activist from Samara, Russia was charged with “homosexual propaganda” on 26 July for re-posting links to our website and sharing articles that promoted LGBT equality. She will stand trial on 18 September.
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Excerpt from Amnesty International Canada’s Urgent Action Campaign:
Evdokia Romanova, an LBGTI activist from Samara, Russia was charged with “homosexual propaganda” on 26 July for reposting links to the international Youth Coalition for Sexual Reproductive Rights website and to articles that promoted LGBT equality. She will stand trial on 18 September.
On 26 July, LGBTI activist Evdokia Romanova, an active member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) from Samara in Central Russia, was called to her local police station to act as a witness for another case the police were investigating. However, on arrival she was questioned and charged under Article 6.21, part 2 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors using Internet”. She will stand trial on 18 September. If found guilty, she could be fined up to 100,000 roubles (USD 1,750).
In violation of the law, Evdokia Romanova was denied legal representation when questioned and charged by the police. The police also unlawfully refused her and her lawyer access to the casefile, denying them a chance to learn the grounds on which she had been charged. Evdokia Romanova and her lawyer were only able to get access to the casefile materials on 5 September, nearly 6 weeks after she was charged, and only after the case had been referred to Kirov District Court in Samara.
Evdokia Romanova’s casefile reveals that the charges most likely relate to her membership of the YCSRR and that her “crime” was the reposting of links to the YCSRR website and media publications, including a Guardian article on the same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland and a Buzzfeed article on an exhibition in St. Petersburg on Russian LGBTI teens, on her personal Facebook and Russian social media network, VKontakte. Four of the posts date back to 2015 and another to May 2016. The police deemed links to the YCSRR’s own publication, a campaign calling for youth activists to campaign for LGBT rights, to be the most incriminating and the police Centre for the Prevention of Extremism even ordered two experts – one on linguistics and another on psychology, to conduct an examination of the publication. Both experts concluded that the publication contained “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, with the one who conducted the linguistic examination concluding it was aimed at “forming non-traditional sexual orientation”, “creating appealing image of non-traditional sexual orientation” and “was forming an image of equal value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations for society.”