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Russian Activist Fined For 'Gay Propaganda'

Gay-rights activist Nikolai Alekseyev stands outside a district court in St. Petersburg on April 19.
A Russian gay-rights activist is believed to have become the first person to be punished under a St. Petersburg law against spreading "gay propaganda" among minors.

Nikolai Alekseyev said on May 4 that a city court in St. Petersburg fined him 5,000 rubles (about $170).

The fine was imposed after the court ruled that Alekseyev had spread propaganda about homosexual relations among minors when he held a sign in a public place on April 12.

The sign stated that homosexuality is not a "perversion."

Alekseyev has pledged to appeal the ruling.

In February, lawmakers in St. Petersburg -- Russia's second-biggest city -- adopted a controversial bill under which people can be fined for spreading "homosexual propaganda and promoting pedophilia among minors."

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but antigay sentiment among many Russians remains strong.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS