HRC Blog

First Foreign Citizens Held Under Russia’s “Propaganda” Law

Post submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media intern

Four Dutch nationals have become the first foreign citizens to be held under Russia’s discriminatory new “propaganda” law, which makes it a crime to disseminate information about LGBT issues. They were working on a film about LGBT rights in Russia, according to news sources.

The four were not officially arrested, but were held for six hours without a translator or a representative of the Dutch government. They were fined about $90 each for violating visa rules. Foreign citizens who violate the law can face fines, jail time and deportation from the country. 

Russian court officials have scheduled hearings for the Dutch citizens for Monday. Police have accused them of distributing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” in the course of making their film.

A rising tide of public homophobia has been taking hold in Russia recently, as the legislature has approved several bills that restrict LGBT rights. LGBT activists have also faced great violence at protests and pridemarches. Twenty LGBT advocates were detained earlier this year while protesting the propaganda bill. At that same protest, a crowd of 200 assaulted them with rotten eggs.

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