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Russian Activist Fined For Gay 'Propaganda,' Still Faces 'Pornography' Charges

Russian feminist and LGBT activist Yulia Tsvetkova (file photo)
Russian feminist and LGBT activist Yulia Tsvetkova (file photo)

A Russian feminist and LGBT activist has been given a heavy fine under a controversial law banning gay "propaganda" – as part of what Amnesty International called a "long-running discriminatory and intensely homophobic campaign" by the authorities.

Yulia Tsvetkova, a fairly prominent figure in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, was found guilty of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors" -- an administrative offense -- and fined 50,000 rubles ($ 780) for being the administrator of two LGBT-themed groups on social media, Amnesty International said in a statement on December 11.

It said both communities were marked "18+," as required by Russian law, making the fine imposed on Tsvetkova unfounded under the gay "propaganda" legislation.

"Once again, a Russian human rights activist pays a heavy price -- in every sense -- for simply spreading the ideals of inclusiveness, tolerance, and women’s empowerment," according to Natalia Zviagina, the London-based human rights watchdog’s Russia director.

The activist, who is currently under house arrest, is still facing criminal charges that are punishable by up to six years in prison.

She was put under house arrest in November and charged with the "production and dissemination of pornographic materials" over drawings of female genitals she posted on social media.

Zviagina said Tsvetkova had been "arbitrarily detained, interrogated and intimidated on multiple occasions."

"Her theatrical and creative initiatives have been stifled by law enforcement officers, and her drawings now judged as pornographic," she said.

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