Russia makes failed attempt to shut down prominent LGBTQ rights group

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2/11/22

The Russian government made an unsuccessful attempt to shut down one of the country’s largest and most prominent LGBTQ rights groups, but human rights advocates say there are likely more attempts on the horizon. A court in St. Petersburg sidelined a lawsuit that had been filed by Russia’s Justice Ministry on Tuesday. The suit accused the Russian LGBT Network of spreading “LGBT views” and engaging in activities that go against “traditional values.” In the suit, Russian officials said they want to “liquidate” the Sphere Foundation, the legal group that operates the LGBTQ organization. Tanya Lokshina, associate director of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia division, said she expects Russian officials to ask the court to reconsider the case. “It’s good news for the immediate future,” Lokshina said of the court’s decision not to act on the lawsuit. “Their first step failed, but I don’t think they’re going to give up, because what happened is in sync with the ongoing, very disturbing trend of stifling independent voices in Russia.”

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