by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a request for expedited hearing of several cases stemming from Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s repeated bans of gay pride marches.
Some of the cases are more than two years old. The court has a huge backlog of cases of all kinds from Russia.
“If no action is taken, the Moscow Pride bans will take five to six years to be overturned by the European Court,” said chief pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev. “Whether through the court or via the Committee of Ministers, a solution has to be found in Strasbourg (at the Council of Europe). We are in contact with several diplomacies.”
In a similar case from Warsaw, the court issued a ruling within 18 months mandating that city officials let gays march.
“Council of Europe officials write wonderful letters to Russian authorities about the necessity to respect the rights of LGBT people,” said Moscow Pride co-organizer Nikolai Baev. “But year after year we see the same violence, the same aggressions and the same breach of human rights.”
This year’s pride march is scheduled for May 16, the same day the popular, campy Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Moscow. The contest – a high holiday for many European gays – is staged in the country that won it the previous year.
Mayor Luzhkov has called gay parades “satanic” and “weapons of mass destruction,” and said he will never allow one to take place in Moscow.