Authorities try to shut down Russia's only support group for LGBTI youths

Authorities try to shut down Russia’s only support group for LGBTI youths because of ‘gay propaganda’

 Founder Lena Klimova said she would take proceedings to the European Court of Justice should the project be banned

Russian LGBTI youth support group Children-404 is facing the danger of being shut down for breaching the country’s ‘anti-gay propaganda’ laws.

Demands from the country’s media authority Roskomnadzor and the Kremlin-loyal youth organization Young Guard forced the General Prosecutor’s office into action, according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti and German news website queer.de.

A court will have to decide whether the group’s online presence, giving LGBTI teens and children a community to talk about their experiences, violates they country’s law; the court date is set for 6 April.

Roskomnadzor announced it had received more than 150 complaints from citizens; the authority’s investigation showed a ‘potential breach of the law’ by ‘advertising non-traditional sexual relationships among minors’.

If the court’s decision matches the General Prosecutor’s claim and Children-404 is banned on 6 April the media authority also intends to ‘meet community needs’ by publishing a single list of banned information.

‘We have passed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality among children, we must abide by it,’ Pavel Astakhov, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights, said earlier this week.

‘If a site does not comply with the law, it is closed.’

Lena Klimova, founder of Children-404, said she feared the proposed shut-down was only a matter of time but she would not give up: ‘Even the powerful media authority will not destroy this Facebook group that easily.’

Klimova said if need be she would be ready to carry proceedings to the European Court of Justice should the Russian authorities close the project

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