16 Year-Old Boy Found Guilty Under Russia's Gay Propaganda Laws

Maxim Nemerov is the first minor to be targeted by government, found guilty and fined for 'violating' Russia's homophobic gay propaganda laws.

Maxim Neverov who was found guilty under Russia's gay propaganda laws speaking on a megaphone to an assembled crowd

With attention from international media lessened now the World Cup has ended, Russia’s notorious treatment of its LGBT+ citizens has stepped up a gear with the recent news it has prosecuted a minor for allegedly breaking its gay propaganda laws.

16 year-old Maxim Neverov was fined 50,000 rubles (the equivalent of about €650) for spreading gay propaganda among minors, even though he himself is a minor. This ‘propaganda’ consisted of Neverov posting photos on his social media page “of young men whose appearance (partly nude body parts) had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations according to the expert opinion,” or so says the police report. 

When Neverov was denied a lawyer, he refused to speak to the police. The Commission found him guilty either way but did not give their reasoning, leaving Neverov to appeal the sentence. While this was shocking in and of itself, there exists a possible darker motive for his targeting.

Earlier this year, Neverov attempted to organise a public event called Gays Or Putin in protest of the government’s treatment of the LGBT+ community. He applied to the city administration for permission, when they failed to give it, he went on to apply a total of 12 times. This garnered a lot of negative attention from the residents in his hometown of Biysk and was raised in the Duma – the local Russian assembly.

When Neverov’s case was brought to the Commission, the meeting was supposedly open to the public but supporters of the boy were not allowed to attend, and no recording of events were permitted either.

While decisions on whether his case for appeal will go forward are yet to be made, it could be assumed the likelihood of a positive outcome are slim. Over the last few months, there has been a stream of stories about LGBT+ people suffering threats to their lives, beatings and indignities. One of those affected is Evgeny Schtorn, a gay man forced to flee Russia for his own safety, who GCN recently spoke to as part of a series of interviews with LGBT+ asylum seekers.

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