Russian Court Says Local LGBT Group is a Spy Organization
A court in St. Petersburg, Russia, ruled this week that a local LGBT organization must register as a "foreign agent," which equates the group with a spy operation, BuzzFeed reports.
Coming Out is now one of the hundreds of human rights organizations in Russia with this label. Other groups have been taken to court by government officials for failing to register voluntarily under a 2012 law, which requires non-government organizations who receive funding from other countries to call themselves "foreign agents."
According to Amnesty International, Russia's Justice Ministry registered five new foreign agent groups just this week.
Officials from Coming Out have been fighting the new label for the last 16-months.
"[Printing] the label 'foreign agent' on all the public materials of the organization would be a sign for wider society that the idea of protecting the rights of LGBT people is something 'foreign,' and, therefore unnecessary and even harmful," the group wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday.
The group adds: "Coming Out will appeal the court's decision, but there is no guarantee that the organization will not be registered by the Ministry of Justice in the nearest future, as it happened also with five major human rights organizations: 'Memorial,' 'Agora,' and 'YURIKS' (Jurists for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms)."
In Coming Out's statement, officials said the judge found that the group violates the rights of "persons with traditional sexual orientation," and that the state had an interest in limiting its reach.