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Putin describes transgender rights as ‘crime against humanity’

Russian president made comment in Sochi speech

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo Credit: Kremlin Pool - EURACTIV Media Network)

SOCHI, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday described transgender rights as “a crime against humanity.”

The Washington Post reported Putin made the comment in a speech he delivered in Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea where the 2014 Winter Olympics took place.

Putin specifically said the idea that children are “taught that a boy can become a girl and vice versa” is “on the verge of a crime against humanity.” Putin, according to the Post, also said trans activists are demanding an end to “basic things such as mother, father, family or gender differences.”

Activists in Russia and around the world have sharply criticized the Kremlin’s LGBTQ rights record, including a 2013 law that bans the promotion of so-called gay propaganda to minors. Putin also has close ties to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who is behind a brutal anti-LGBTQ crackdown in the semi-autonomous Russian republic.

The European Court of Human Rights in July ruled Russia violated the rights of a trans woman who authorities prevented from visiting her children because of her gender identity. The decision is the first time the court used Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights in an anti-trans discrimination case.

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U.S. official meets with Brittney Griner in Russia

Consular visit took place on May 19

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MOSCOW — A U.S. consular official on May 19 visited detained WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Friday told reporters during a virtual briefing the officer “found her continuing to do as well as could be expected under these exceedingly challenging circumstances.” The officer met with Griner two days after U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said Russian officials had denied consular visits with her three times this month.

“Our message is a clear and simple one,” said Price. “We continue to insist that Russia allow consistent and timely consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees. One-off visits are not sufficient, and we will continue to call on Moscow to uphold its commitments under the Vienna Convention for consistent and timely access as well.”

Griner — a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife — was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Russian officials said customs inspectors found hashish oil in her luggage.

The State Department has determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner. 

A Russian court on May 13 extended her detention for another month. The Women’s National Basketball Players Association, a union that represents WNBA players, has endorsed a petition that urges the Biden administration to “prioritize” Griner’s release.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, on May 14.

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Brittney Griner detention extended for another month

WNBA star taken into custody at Moscow airport in February

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Brittney Griner (Photo by Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

KHIMKI, Russia — A Russian court on Friday extended WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention for another month.

Griner — a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife — was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Russian officials said customs inspectors found hashish oil in her luggage.

Griner is among the WNBA players who play in Russia during the league’s off-season.

The State Department earlier this month determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner. The National Black Justice Coalition is among the groups that have also criticized Russia over Griner’s detention.

Griner on Friday appeared in court in the Moscow suburb of Khimki. Griner’s lawyer, Alexander Boikov, told the Associated Press that her trial could begin soon.

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

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Russian court fines Tik-Tok & Instagram for ‘Gay Propaganda’

Instagram and Tik-Tok were guilty of violating the Russian Federation’s law that bans discussions or information regarding LGBTQ+ people

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Tagansky Court of Moscow/Government-Courts of the City of Moscow, Russia

MOSCOW, Russia – The Tagansky Court of Moscow ruled Tuesday that social media platforms Instagram and Tik-Tok were guilty of violating the Russian Federation’s law that bans discussions or information regarding LGBTQ+ people or community known as the ‘Gay Propaganda Law.’

In the case against Tik-Tok, Judge Timur Vakhrameev found TikTok guilty under Part 2 of Art. 13.41 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (“Non-deletion by the site owner of information if the obligation to delete is provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation”) for violating the tenets of the Gay Propaganda law requiring deletion of the offending materials.

Vakhrameev fined the social network 2 million rubles, which is roughly equivalent to $27,000 U.S. dollars.

In another case the court found that Meta, parent company of Instagram had also violated “Part 2 of Article 13.41,” and imposed a fine of 4 million rubles, which is roughly equivalent to $54,000 U.S. dollars, for not deleting materials on Instagram promoting “non-traditional sexual values to minors”

Since the start of the war with Ukraine, the Russian government’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, abbreviated as Roskomnadzor has blocked Facebook, Instagram, and Tik-Tok from operating in the Russian Federation.

Deputy Head of Roskomnadzor Vadim Subbotin told Russian media outlet Gazeta.ru that his agency also has worked with the courts to fine Google-owned YouTube. “In total, the court on the claims of Roskomnadzor imposed fines for not removing prohibited content on YouTube video hosting, the amount of which already exceeds 7 billion rubles,” he said.

Subbotin added that “false information” about the activities of the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine is being spread on social networks. He said that Roskomnadzor is taking appropriate response measures.

“In response to this, we are taking measures aimed at protecting our citizens and the interests of our country in the information space. Roskomnadzor has blocked more than 85 thousand of this kind of materials, including entire resources that systematically generate such content, ”said the deputy head of the department.

Earlier, according to Brand Analytics, from February 24 to April 20, the number of active Russian-speaking authors on YouTube decreased by 21%.

The Tagansky Court of Moscow fined Google for 7 million rubles on charges of distributing YouTube videos calling for terrorist attacks in Russia the outlet reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office said.

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