by Rex Wockner
Moscow Pride organizers filed suit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights on Aug. 23 alleging violations of their right to freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
A year ago, gay activists were denied permission to stage pickets against Moscow Northern District Prefect Oleg Mitvol after he waged a campaign, ultimately successful, to close down the city’s oldest gay bar, Body and Soul. Russian courts upheld the bans.
“Such places, which lead to the moral degradation of citizens and become the source of troubles, should be closed,” Mitvol said at the time.
Leading gay activist Nikolai Alekseev said he has “no doubt” Moscow Pride will win the case.
“As soon as the Strasbourg court gives a decision on the ban of the Moscow gay prides in 2006, 2007 and 2008, we will have a new basis for the improvement of the right of all citizens to freedom of assembly in Russia,” he said.
To date, Alekseev and associates have filed 18 lawsuits with the Euro court complaining of discrimination based on sexual orientation. All of the cases remain to be decided.