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Russian ‘gay propaganda law’ discriminatory, European court rules

Russia’s law banning gay propaganda among minors does not contradict worldwide practice, the Russian Justice Ministry said after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled it as discriminatory on Tuesday.Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russian Federation 1993, but homophobia and discrimination is still common.The law has been condemned as a ban on any public discussions of homosexuality, while authorities say it is in the interests of children. But their complaints – right up to the Constitutional Court – were unsuccessful.According to the court ruling, Russian lawmakers had “overstepped the margin of appreciation” of Article 10 of the convention, which guarantees freedom of expression.”Above all, by adopting such laws the court found that the authorities had reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia, which was incompatible with the values – of equality, pluralism and tolerance – of a democratic society”, the court document said.The trio then filed applications with the European rights court in 2009 and 2012.In 2016, the court ruled that Russia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights in all but six of its 228 judgments in Russian cases.The court decided by six votes to one that Russian Federation must pay around 49,000 euros in damages and legal fees to the three activists.Russia’s justice ministry said it would appeal, and was “preparing legal arguments explaining Russia’s position”.”Of course, this decision will be considered”, he said. “I have not seen the wording of it, so I can not comment”.”These discriminatory laws now must be abolished”, he said in a statement, adding that they had no place “in a free, civilised and democratic and country in the 21st century”.