Dutch LGBTQ Filmmakers/Activists Detained & Fined By Russian Authorities
By Brody Levesque | MURMANSK, Russia -- Four Dutch filmmakers, including an elected Dutch city official, were arrested and briefly detained in this northern Russian city Sunday on charges of “spreading homosexual propaganda,” under the country's new anti-gay laws.
Russian media reported that the four were let go Monday after the local magistrate's court cancelled their appearance, without explanation other than local authorities had not brought a case forward. However the four were fined 3,000 rubles each. [$93.00 USD]
A police source told Russian-language news site, Lenta.ru, that the four had been arrested near Mumansk at a “Youth Human Rights Camp,” as they were filming a documentary about the city of Mumansk, including the local LGBT community. Among the young people whom they interviewed about their views was a minor, a gay 17 year old teenager. The source confirmed that the quartet's video recordings were seized as evidence.
According to LGBTQ activists, the four are the first foreigners to be arrested in Russia under the new anti-gay laws.
One of those arrested was Kris van der Veen, a city Councillor for the left-wing green party GroenLinks in Groningen, the Netherlands. Van der Veen is also chairman of the foundation LGBT Groningen, which advocates for LGBT equality rights in the Netherlands and abroad.
According to a Tweet from Van der Veen, the Royal Dutch Embassy in Moscow is assisting the four as they prepare to leave Russia although they still face a future prosecution over the incident.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality among minors acts in Russia, last month, making it a criminal act to discuss homosexuality to minors.
The law stipulates punishment for individuals of a fine of up to 100,000 rubles, [$3,092.00 USD] and non-Russian citizens are not exempt. The law calls for added penalty for foreigners- if found guilty of Article 6.21.3 of the Administrative Code- which includes arrest and subsequent deportation from the Russian Federation.