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The European Court of Human Rights has sent a complaint against Russia in connection with the publication of Novaya Gazeta about the persecution of gays in Chechnya

The case is connected with the refusal of the Russian courts to protect honor and dignity in the part of slanderous statements contained in the articles of Novaya Gazeta from April 2017.

In April 2017, activists of the human rights project GayRussia.ru and organizers of LGBT actions in several cities of the North Caucasus filed a lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta in the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. The plaintiffs demanded to refute the information that the pressure on gays in Chechnya was provoked by their plans to hold rallies in the region.

The applicants demanded to collect from the Novaya Gazeta one million rubles in compensation for non-pecuniary damage. The plaintiffs intended to transfer funds to a charitable organization in Chechnya.

LGBT activists also asked the “Novaya Gazeta” through the court to make a separate publication with a refutation on the website and in the printed version of the publication, and also to apologize.

However, all instances in Russia, from the Basmanny District Court of Moscow to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, dismissed the claim against Novaya Gazeta about protection of honor and dignity.

The complaint to the ECHR indicates the inability of Russian courts to strike a fair balance between the right to freedom of speech and the right to respect for private life, as well as the violation of a number of other articles of the European Convention.

I am confident in our victory, because the monstrous fabrications of a journalist of this newspaper are not freedom of speech within the meaning of the ECHR jurisprudence. There are already precedents of this kind in the practice of Strasbourg. We are waiting for registration and communication of the case to the Russian authorities

Nikolay Alekseev
Head of the human rights project GayRussia.ru
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