A judge has acquitted Elena Klimova of violating Russia's anti-propaganda law for running a social media group, Children 404, that supports LGBT teenagers. A journalist and creator of the online group, she was acquitted by the Dzerzhinskii district court of Nizhni Tagil.
Klimova says the reason she was acquitted was that the judge she had in the case was reasonable and that her lawyer had a strong argument. Klimova's lawyer argued that her administration of the social media groups could not be propaganda because she is not writing the content herself, but rather simply moderating. She also received help from a local psychotherapist who volunteered to testify the group was very helpful for the mental health of LGBT youth.
Klimova expressed surprise at being acquitted:
When I was in court I had no hope that I would be cleared. Charges based on this law were brought to court three times, and the accused were fined all three times. What happened in my case is a huge accident. I got lucky that the judge was a normal, healthy-thinking person.
Russian filmmakers Pavel Loparev and Askold Kurov filmed a documentary with the same title as Klimova's online group. Although the film will focus on the story of an 18-year-old gay boy who became an LGBT activist and emigrated to Canada after receiving harassment and abuse, it will also include interviews with Klimova and other LGBT youth.
The documentary will premiere at the 2014 Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto next month.
Image via AP.