Russian artist facing 'LGBT propaganda' charges declares hunger strike

The Russian artist who faces LGBT Propaganda charges has said she will continue to strike until she is afforded a public trial.

russian-lgbt-activist-artist-on-trial
Image: Private Archive via Amnesty International

Russian LGBTQ+ activist and artist, Yulia Tsvetkova, has started a hunger strike to protest court proceedings where she is charged with pornography for her drawings of feminine bodies.

Following a near year and a half investigation during which time she has been fined for speading ‘LGBT propaganda‘ and is under house arrest in her hometown of Komsomolsk-on-Amur in east Russia.

Tsvetkova’s trial began on April 12 where she is charged with producing and distributing pornographic material for acting as administrator on a social media page called The Vagina Monologues.

The Russian artist and activist is also known for advocacy of LGBTQ+ issues.

The trail is being held behind closed doors supposedly because prosecutors will present evidence that depicts drawings of feminine bodies.

If found guilty, Tsvetkova could face up to six years in prison.

Tsvetkova announced her hunger strike in a Facebook post saying that the Russian state’s “cowardly” handling of her case has amounted to “torture”.

She said that she will continue her strike until the state could “be a man” and allow her to stand trail publicly.

“The starving person must have some kind of demand. My demand is simple. I ask the state to ‘come out and fight.’

“So let’s stop waiting for the person being persecuted to be a hero. We don’t need heroes. We need to prevent the persecution of the innocent.”

Commenting on the case, Amnesty International said that it is political repression and “Kafkaesque absurdity.”

“A woman has been criminally charged with ‘producing pornography’ simply for drawing and publishing images of the female body and freely expressing her views through art,” Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow office director, said ahead of her trial last month.

“During this ordeal, Yulia has spent time under house arrest and twice been subjected to extortionate fines under the so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law.”

Sign the petition to support Yulia Tsvetkova here.

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