By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com September 03 2013 2:07 PM ET
Russian police have charged a man with violating the country’s law against “gay propaganda,” according to BuzzFeed.
On July 30, Dmitry Isakov, 24, stood in the center of the Russian city of Kazan with a sign that read, “Being gay and loving gays is normal. Beating gays and killing gays is a crime!” Isakov was charged after a teenager who saw his protest online filed a complaint.
His legal team says he could become the first person convicted under the law, which was signed by president Vladimir Putin in late June.
Isakov has already suffered the consequences of the antigay legislation. The gay activist told The Times of London that he was beaten by four police officers for his protest and sustained injuries that necessitated the use of crutches for 10 days. He was also recently fired from his job at a bank.
If convicted, Isakov could have to pay a fine of 5,000 rubles, or $150. The maximum fine for those who use the Internet or media to advocate for LGBT causes is 100,000 rubles, or $3,000.
The charges are one of the latest developments in the controversy over Russia’s antigay laws, which could be used to prosecute visitors to the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi.
This means any athlete or attendee who is seen holding hands with a member of the same sex or wearing a rainbow pin at any point during the games in Sochi could potentially face fines, jail time, and deportation under Russian law.
President Barack Obama plans to speak with pro-LGBT organizations during the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg later this week.