LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Trial against Russian human rights defender

On 26 July, Evdokiya Romanova, a Samara activist for civil rights, was summoned to the police under an administrative offense - "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations using the Internet" among minors.

In the opinion of the Center for Combating Extremism and Police of the Samara Region, propaganda was expressed in Evdokia's reposts of 2015-16 in her closed Facebook account. On her private page, Evdokia made reposts of The Guardian articles about the legalization of same-sex marriages in Ireland and BuzzFeed to ban the exhibition of Russian LGBT teenagers in St. Petersburg. She also published the creative work of LGBT youth from the annual magazine "Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights", which includes. All articles were in English, but this did not stop the authorities - they made an automatic translation into Google Translate and attached it to the case materials.

The police were so in a hurry to punish Evdokiya that they violated the jurisdiction by transferring the case to Evdokia immediately to the district court, having passed the peace court, and they hurriedly accepted him at the district court and even set a court date. However, when a large group of support for Evdokia came to the district court, the error was revealed. The Evdokia case was transferred to a magistrate's court (the very first court instance in the Russian Federation) and closed down, fearing "the propagation of unconventional sexual relations" in the trial. That is, Evdokia was deprived of the right to open and public trial.

The trial on 18 October lasted five hours, the judge listened to the witnesses, got acquainted with the materials of the case and the examinations, all formalities were observed. But almost no petitions of the defense were satisfied. The judge issued a ruling on the culpability of Evdokia and awarded her a fine of 50,000 rubles (the maximum under this article is 100,000). The defense will appeal to the higher district court of the city of Samara and hopes that the materials of the case will add the necessary examinations, documents and letters.

The Russian LGBT network, of which the Samara LGBT movement Avers is a member, helped pay Evdokiya Romanova's lawyer Sergei Erofeev's services and will help pay the fine if that will be the decision of the district court.

Evdokiya Romanova cooperates with a number of human rights organisations, including the Samara LGBT movement Avers, the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, the Frida Foundation for Young Feminists and United. In support of Evdokiya, Amnesty International and the United Nations Office on HIV made separate statements.

Evdokiya and her lawyer plan to appeal the decision at the national level and ECHR if needed.