A unanimous 8-member chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled on October 21 that the Russian government violated the European Convention on Human Rights when the Moscow city government denied permission for four consecutive years for the holding of a gay rights parade and demonstration in that city. Ruling on three applications to the court filed by Nicolas Alekseyev, the leader of the Russian gay rights group in Moscow, the court found violations of Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the Convention. Alekseyev v. Russia, Applications Nos. 4916/07, 25924/08 and 14599/09.
There were recent reports from Russia that government agents had briefly kidnapped Mr. Alekseyev to try to persuade him to withdraw these applications to the Court, but he refused and was eventually released. Russian President Medvedev recently removed Moscow Mayor Luzhkov from office and appointed a replacement, whose views on the holding of gay rights parades have yet to be tested. There are also reports that recently some Russian courts, perhaps anticipating the European Court