Russian judge: Court ruling on gay pride ban culturally insensitive.

A Russian judge has criticised an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights declaring bans on three planned gay pride parades in Moscow to have been in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Valery Zorkin, Constitutional Court Chairman, told a news conference in Moscow that the ruling in October disregarded some aspects of Russian society.

“Such a sensitive issue, something that is allowed at such festivals in Amsterdam or Berlin with their sexual minorities. I want to point out that in Russia sexual minorities are under the protection of the constitution as well. But you just try to arrange a gay parade in Makhachkala or in Grozny or in Kazan with support from the Strasbourg court. You realise what will happen in Russia, don’t you?” he said.

Makhachkala, Grozny and Kazan are the capitals of the predominantly Muslim Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Tatarstan respectively.

“What are those ladies and gentlemen thinking about when they are sitting inside that glass building and throwing stones at others?” added Zorkin.

On 21 October the European Court of Human Rights declared bans by the Moscow city government on planned gay pride parades in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, said Nikolay Alexeyev, the leader of the Russian gay movement.

The court ordered Russia to pay the parade organisers 17,000 euros (£14,000) in compensation for their judiciary costs and 12,000 euros (£10,000) as emotional damage compensation, added Alexeyev.

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