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Gay activist fined in Russia for propaganda

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04:55 PM May 4th, 2012

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May 4th, 2012 04:55 PM

A gay rights activist, right, stands in individual picket in snowfall in St.Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, April 4, 2012. His poster reads: "In this library there are also books by gay and lesbian writers. Their works are a part of the world culture". A few St. Petersburg gay activists held individual pickets in front of a youth library in St. Petersburg on Wednesday to protest the city's new law that bans propaganda of homosexuality to minors.(AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

MOSCOW  — A prominent Russian gay rights activist says he’s been convicted of spreading “gay propaganda” among minors in the first such ruling in Russia’s modern history.

Nikolai Alexeyev said Friday a city court in St. Petersburg fined him 5,000 rubles ($170). He pledged to appeal the decision.

Lawmakers in Russia’s second-largest city created the offense in February. Gay rights activists say the legislation could be used to ban public demonstrations. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong.

Alexeyev was briefly detained last month after he picketed the city hall with a poster that said that “homosexuality is not a perversion.”

Calls to the court went unanswered shortly after the ruling.

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