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Russian activist and artist, Yulia Tsvetkova, is facing six year sentence for drawing the female body

 

Russian activist and artist, Yulia Tsvetkova, is facing prosecution and harassment for defending women’s and LGBTI rights.

She has been under house arrest since 22 November, under absurd charges of “production and dissemination of pornography” for her drawings of the female body. She is facing up to six years in prison if convicted. Yulia Tsvetkova is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.

Yulia Tsvetkova is an LGBTI and women’s rights activist, artist and stage director, from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the Russian Far East.

She was detained on 20 November 2019 and put on house arrest two days later, after being charged with the “production and dissemination of pornographic materials”, for making body positive drawings of the female body and sharing them on social media.

Her drawings included pictures of female reproductive organs, and she shared them online as part of her women’s empowerment campaign.

On the day of her arrest, police searched Yulia’s apartment and the children’s educational club where she worked previously. The police seized her electronic devices, documents, and brochures on gender issues. Yulia later said that during the search police officers referred to her as a “lesbian, sex trainer and propagandist leader”.

  

Yulia has been the target of an overtly homophobic campaign since March 2019, when she was forced to leave Merak, the amateur youth theatre company she worked at, after police launched an investigation into alleged “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”.

The investigation was launched in reaction to Yulia’s anti-bullying, anti-discrimination play, Blue and Pink.

On 11 December 2019 Yulia was found guilty of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”, and fined 50,000 rubles (approximately 600 GBP), for serving as the administrator of two LGBTI online communities on the popular Russian social media site, VKontakte.

Both of the online communities were properly marked as “18+”, as required by Russian law. Even under the confines of the homophobic Russian “gay propaganda” legislation, the “offence” should only be valid if the “propaganda” material is targeted at people under the age of 18.

On 17 January, Yulia informed the media that new proceedings had been opened against her, under the same Article of the Code of Administrative Offences that she had previously been charged under. This time she was being prosecuted for posting a drawing she made depicting two same-sex couples with child on social media, alongside the statement, “Family is where love is. Support LGBT+ families”.

She published the drawing in support of a same-sex couple who were forced to flee Russia with their adopted children after authorities threatened to remove their children from their custody.

# visit Website Amnesty International UK for more information and urgent actions

# support amnesty international
# take urgent action now

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