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Statement Regarding Charges Against Human Rights Defender Evdokia Romanova

Evdokia Romanova, a long-time supporter and activist of UNITED, has been charged in Russia with sharing posts on her Facebook profile whose content was related to the topic of the human rights of LGBT people in Russia. The UNITED Secretariat is concerned about the noticeable shrinking space of human rights activists and calls on its supporters to join the action of Avers in support of Evdokia.

On the 26 July, 2017, Evdokia Romanova, a staff member at the LGBT rights organization Samara Regional Public LGBT Movement (“Avers”) and a member of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, was called to the police department by governmental authorities where she was invited to submit a witness testimony. At the police department, the case investigator informed Evdokia that she is under police investigation for an administrative penalty (Part II of article 6.21) Code of Administrative Offenses (propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships by using social networks and Internet). She was then asked to sign the case protocol. Only after consultation with her lawyer was Evdokia allowed to read the case materials in question.

According to the case materials Evdokia is charged with sharing posts on her Facebook profile from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and The Guardian. The content of the posts was related to the topic of the human rights of LGBT people in Russia. Evdokia has rejected the charges and has refused to submit her testimony as a Defendant, according her Constitutional right (Article 51).

Avers supports Evdokia in her rejection of the charges. According to the position of Avers, there was no motivation in Evdokia’s actions to spread: “information that is shaping unconventional sexual attitudes”, “the attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations”, a “distorted view of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations”, or “the imposition of information on non-traditional sexual relations that causes interest in such relationships”. According to the position of governmental authorities, citizens are not restricted from speaking about the rights and freedoms of sexual minorities or sharing information about homosexuality. Discussion of these and all related issues are recognized and protected.

Avers believes that the attention from regional authorities towards Evdokia Romanova is a result of her human rights work and that the actions of the authorities are being done for the purpose of threatening her. These charges have no legal basis, and it is the hope of Avers that this case will not be supported by the court.

Avers is calling on friends and allies to show their support for Evdokia Romanova by opening a dialogue and space for public statements from regional and international human rights organizations. If you would like to support Evdokia Romanova, please send an e-mail Police Department in the Samara Region (gumvd63@mvd.ru) to tell them that you disagree with the accusations against her, based on Part 2 6.21 Code of Administrative Penalty (rus. ч. 2 ст. 6.21 Кодекса об административных правонарушениях).