30 June 2013, 15:14

Russian president Putin signs bill against gay propaganda into law

Премьер-министр Владимир Путин документы письменные письмо читает пишет

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a controversial bill punishing people for homosexual "propaganda", according to an official publication on Sunday.

Law against gay propaganda introduces fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for citizens who disseminate information aimed at minors "directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup" or which may cause a "distorted understanding" that gay and heterosexual relations are "socially equivalent", the official publication of the bill showed.

Opponents have called the bill homophobic and so vaguely defined that it would inevitably be used arbitrarily and stir anti-gay sentiment in the country. However, it sailed through parliament and Putin had promised in advance that he would sign it.

The fines go up to as much as 200,000 rubles ($6,250) for officials if such "propaganda" is disseminated through the media or Internet.

Foreigners will not only be fined but face administrative arrest up to 15 days and eventual deportation, the law says. Organisations face fines of up to one million rubles and a shutdown of their activity for 90 days.

Earlier this week Putin denied the law's anti-gay nature. "We are talking about protecting children from the respective information," he said.

"We ask that (other countries) do not interfere in our regulation," he added.

Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev called the law a "historical mistake" that will be appealed in the European Court of Human Rights.

Voice of Russia, AFP

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