Since February 11, 2022 Moscow community center for LGBT+ initiatives is recognized as a foreign agent organization without legal entity by the Russian Ministry of Justice.
Overview of Julia Tsvetkova's case, Ferbruary 8th, 2021
On February 8, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Khabarovsk Territory confirmed the indictment in the case of Julia Tsvetkova, an LGBT activist, feminist, and director of the Children's Theater «Merak» from Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The completion of the investigation was reported back in June 2020, but since then, the prosecutor's office has returned the materials for further investigation three times. Julia is accused of distributing and publicly displaying pornographic materials on the Internet (paragraph " b " of the third part of Article 242 of the Criminal Code). The publication on the Internet of some artistic images of external female genitalia, which were regarded as pornographic, served as a formal reason for putting pressure on the feminist and activist of the LGBT movement. The charge is based on the conclusions of the expert examination, as well as the testimony of several persons who saw the images on the Internet and were questioned by the investigation during the preliminary investigation. If found guilty, Julia faces up to six years in prison. We are convinced that Julia Tsvetkova is being persecuted for her social activities that run counter to the prevailing notions of the role of a woman in modern Russian society, as well as the admissibility of public discussion about human sexuality.
Обзор дела Юлия Цветкова на 9 июня 2020
9 июня 2020 года Юлии Цветковой предъявлено обвинение в совершении преступления, предусмотренного пунктом "б" части третьей статьи 242 Уголовного кодекса РФ (незаконное распространение и публичная демонстрация порнографиеских материалов с использованием средств массовой информации, в том числе информационно-телекоммуникационных сетей (включая сеть «Интернет»). По версии следствия в 2019 году у Юлии "возник преступный умысел, направленный на распространение и публичную демонстрацию порнографических материалов в сети Интернет в публичном доступе". При этом до настоящего времени следствию не удалось установить ни время, не место совершения вменяемого Юлии преступления. Поводом для возбуждения уголовного дела послужила публикация в 2019 году ряда художественных изображений женских половых органов в сообществе "Монологи вагины". В основу обвинения положено заключение экспертов, не обладающих необходимой компетенцией, и выводы которых выходят за пределы их специальных познаний.
Overview of Michelle's case, 3rd June 2020
Judgement was given in the Michelle case on 3rd June 2020 after a trial which had lasted four months. Michelle, a 53 year old transgender woman from the Russian city of Bryansk was convicted of distributing child pornography, the charge against her relating to some hentai and ecchi pictures which she was alleged to have published on her social network page five years previously. Under Russian criminal law the offence carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. The Moscow Community Centre took up Michelle's case in early January 2020, putting together an outstanding legal team to defend her. Throughout the trial two eminent Moscow lawyers – Olga and Dmitriy Dinze – fought to establish the defendant's innocence. The independent experts whom they called on the defendant's behalf were highly qualified in the fields of art, medicine and psychology. Their testimony completely rebutted the evidence submitted by the prosecution. Furthermore it became apparent that the experts called by the prosecution lacked expertise and that most of their conclusions were ill-founded. Although the judge in her decision last Monday dismissed all the defence arguments and convicted Michelle of the charge, the sentence she passed was not a lengthy prison term as was feared but two years of deductions from work salary and a separate fine of 50,000 roubles. The time Michelle has already spent in custody will be taken into account so she will have to pay a proportion of her income for a period of eighteen months and fifteen days. For Michelle and her supporters the sentence came as a great relief. For her to serve time in prison would have been tantamount to a death sentence. Russian law makes no special provision for a transgender woman like Michelle.
Illegal distribution of Mr K's personal data on the Internet
On February 28, 2020, private information (including personal photos) about the private life of a closeted gay man working as a cleric was posted in a Telegram channel. This information shortly became widespread on the internet. The publication of information about K's private life dealt great damage to his reputation: Mr K. lost his job in one of the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church and was forced to leave his place of residence due to harassment. An appeal regarding a violation of Mr K.'s right to privacy has been submitted to law enforcement agencies.
Illegal distribution of Mr. T's personal data on the Internet
In September 2019, a Russian online media outlet published materials containing private information of a transgender man. The materials included his place of residence, as well as details of the man's transition. Later, this information has been widely distributed on the Internet. On February 20, 2020, having considered the publication a violation of his right to privacy, the man (Mr. T.) reported the crime to the Moscow's Central Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee. Currently, neither Mr. T. nor his legal representative has been notified of the procedural decision adopted as a result of the audit. On March 3, 2020, Mr. T's representative made an attempt to look over the audit materials, however, those were not provided for review by officials of the Moscow's Central Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee. On March 27, 2020, applicant T. submitted a complaint to court regarding the inaction of the officials.
Overview of Michelle's case, March 15th, 2020
Another criminal trial against Michelle was held on March 13th, 2020. Defense witnesses questioned were: defendant's hospital colleagues, MCC psychologist who worked with Michelle after she was freed from solitary confinement, as well as a moderator from trangender group on a social media platform. During the court hearing Michelle's defense attorney petitioned for the recognition of experts' conclusion (that laid the basis of the charge) as invalid evidence. He also petitioned for the questioning of the experts as well as for comprehensive re-examination.
Overview of Michelle's case
In 2019 a criminal case was instituted against the 53-year-old transgender woman Michelle. Michelle was accused of distribution of child pornography (part 1 article 242.1 Criminal Code). According to investigation, in 2014 Michelle published three drawings on a social media platform "VKontakte". On these drawings the experts found "males under 14 years of age". During that time Michelle had already started transitioning and was undergoing hormonal replacement therapy, but hadn't had the time to change her documents. On August 13th, 2019 Michelle's residence was searched as a part of criminal investigation. During the search a laptop and a sim card were seized. On the same day Michelle was interrogated as a suspect. Under the pressure from investigators and hoping for reduced sentences, she signed a confession. After that Michelle was subjected to a travel ban.
On August 21st, 2019 Michelle was formally charged with the crime under the article 242.1 of Russian Federation's Criminal Code (distribution of materials with pornographic imagery of minors, committed in relation to a person under 14 years of age). On September 18th, 2019 Michelle was served with new charges of unlawful distribution of pornographic materials. Michelle pleaded guilty and petitioned the court to review the criminal case on an ad hoc basis.
On November 29th, 2019 Briansk city's Soviet district court found Michelle guilty of committing a crime under article 242 and item "a" of the second article 242.1 of Russian Federation's Criminal Code. The court imposed a penalty in the form of 100 000 rubles fee and a prison term of three years. Michelle was taken into custody in the courtroom and placed in a solitary cell. On January 22nd Briansk's regional court brought Michelle's case back for review. The appeal instance cancelled the sentence and brought the case back to the first instance court to be re-examined by a different panel. The court also changed Michelle's penalty freeing her from solitary confinement. In January of 2020 Moscow Community Centre for LGBT+ initiatives and renowned lawyers Olga and Dmitri Dinze joined Michelle's defense team and have been doing anything in their powers to help her. On February 19th Briansk city Soviet district court began re-examination of the case of the transgender woman. Examination of the case was held in a closed section, the application to open the process was not granted.
Overview of Julia Tsvetkova's case, March 9th, 2020
On 16th of March, 2020 the district court of Komsomolsk-na-Amure changed the measure of restraint of Julia Tsvetkova from house arrest to a travel ban. Earlier the criminal case against Julia was passed from interrogation officer to the investigation in light of amendments to Russian Federation's Code of Criminal Procedure coming into force. The court freed Ms. Tsvetkova from house arrest, while agreeing to the 49th article of Constitution according to which indelible doubts of guilt are interpreted in favour of a defendant. Additionally, the court has backed up its decision by the fact that Ms. Tsvetkova hasn't been formally charged yet. The investigation has requested the court to limit Ms. Tsvetkova's internet access. However, the prosecutor did not support that request and petitioned for the change of measure of restraint.
On February 24th, 2020 an anonymous group sent out electronic messages that contained threats on Julia's life as well as demands to transfer monetary funds on the specified account in order for Julia's life to be spared.
The messages mention LGBT-activist Elene Grigorieva that received similar threats earlier and was consequently murdered. Thus, the attorneys of Moscow Community Centre for LGBT+ initiatives believe that there are objective grounds to fear for Julia's life, as Ms. Tsvetkova has received multiple threats from an anonymous group earlier in 2019.
Upon distribution of threats on Julia Tsvetkova life and extortion, the attorneys have prepared messages for law enforcement.
Overview of Julia Tsvetkova's case
On October 24th, 2019 the law enforcement of Komsomolsk-na-Amure a criminal case was brought against 26-year-old LGBT activist, feminist and producer of children's theatre "Mrak" Julia Tsvetkova. The criminal case was instituted according to the article on distribution of porhongraphic materials (point "b", part 3, article 242 of Criminal Code) on the social media platform "VKontakte", where Julia was an administrator of an online group "Vagina Monologues". The group was dedicated to body positivity and sex education. The aforementioned criminal article provides for a penalty of a prison term of up to six years.
Police met the activist at a train station, when she was coming back from a work trip. Ms. Tsvetkova was informed of the institution of a criminal case and was taken to be interrogated. At first Julia was questioned as a witness. However, after she had refused to testify, she was considered a suspect. The change was motivated by the fact that Julia is a lesbian and a sex coach who actively leads related advocacy and promotional activities.
On November 20th, 2019 the apartment where Julia lives with her mother, was searched by police. During the search a computer, a camera, a notebook, a phone, flash drives and gender-related brochures were seized. Searches were also conducted at children's theatre studio "Mrak". Later Julia was interrogated as a suspect, travel ban was selected as a measure of restraint against her. On November 23rd, 2019 Ms. Tsvetkova was apprehended for the violation of the travel ban. When apprehended and transported Julia was subjected to psychological pressure. The measure of restraint was changed to house arrest for a term of two month. She was obligated to wear an ankle bracelet and was prohibited to leave her residence. After a month of house arrest Julia was allowed daily hour long walks within 500 meter radius from her building.