1. On 15 September 2010, Nikolai Alekseev, a prominent human rights activist, was detained by Russian authorities which demanded him to withdraw his complaints against Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding continuous violations of the right to free assembly for LGBTI people in Russia;
2. On the same day, the opening of the Queer Culture Festival in St Petersburg was cancelled and the entire festival is in danger of being banned following a recommendation by the city administration describing the Festival as "propaganda of homosexuality."
We are very concerned about Nikolai Alekseev’s safety and demand immediate and unconditional release of the activist by the Russian authorities and immediate end of intimidation and pressurising him to withdraw his ECHR complaints.
ILGA-Europe has been in touch with the activists in the region who confirmed Nikolai was still in detention as of 12:00 Brussels time. It appears the Russian authorities realise their inevitable humiliating defeat at the European Court of Human Rights and employ such desperate methods as intimidation, threat and abduction to prevent it.
ILGA-Europe is appalled by the closure of the opening of St Petersburg’s Queer Culture festival and calls on St Petersburg’s authorities to respect the constitutional rights of LGBTI people to free assembly, association and expression and to ensure the festival goes ahead without any restrictions.
ILGA-Europe keeps monitoring the situation in Russia and is alerting European institutions to take action.