Nikolai Alekseev, a Russian gay rights activist arrested during a 2010 Moscow protest (picture above) has been convicted of spreading “gay propaganda” by a court in St Petersburg, making him the first to be convicted under the city’s new anti-homosexuality laws. From Pink News:
Mr Alekseev was said to have been fined 5,000 roubles, just over £100, by a court in Russia’s second city for the promotion of homosexuality among minors, AP reports.
The law was approved in February; this is the first time a citizen has been successfully prosecuted under it.
Mr Alekseev had held up a sign reading “Homosexuality is not a perversion” outside the Smolny Institute in April in public view.
A former journalist, Mr Alekseev turned his attention to full-time gay rights campaigning in 2005, setting up the gay rights advocacy group GayRussia.ru.
He has appeared regularly on Russian television and has been honoured for his work by LGBT organisations worldwide.
He has been arrested on numerous occasions for holding illegal Pride marches and gay rights demonstrations and launched lawsuits against Moscow authorities for banning the events and had announced his intention to retire last year.
The Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department has claimed their “destruction policy” will change after a legal medical marijuana grower released photos of his basement grow room following a “visit” from the police, reports Toke of the Town:
Deputies will discontinue their policy of destroying all grow room equipment when they serve search warrants at the homes of medical marijuana patients or caretakers, Saginaw County Sheriff’s Detective Randy P. Pfau claimed.
Edwyn W. Boyke Jr., 64, of Saginaw Township, released the sobering photos after the raid conducted by deputies and federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in the basement of his home, reports Gus Burns of The Saginaw News.
The police raid of Boyke’s home and the resulting photos raised public concern about police procedures when dealing with legal marijuana patients.
Police claim Boyke violated marijuana laws, and in the raid destroyed equipment which the medical marijuana patient said cost him $7,000.
“It’s so new to us, this new law,” Detective Pfau whined, “so we’re acting on protocol that’s been in place… forever with manufacture of marijuana.”
Not mentioned by Pfau is the simple fact that Michigan voters legalized the medicinal use of marijuana almost two years ago, which seems to this writer to be adequate time, even for thick-headed, pot phobic cops to learn the damned laws have changed, already.
Pfau claimed the old way of doing things was to “take a portion” of the grow equipment to present as evidence and document the rest with photos and inventory sheets.
Because the possession and farming of marijuana is no longer inherently illegal, due to Michigan’s medical marijuana law, Pfau said deputies will “adjust their procedures.”
Now, does that just mean they’ll smile more while they bust up patients’ equipment and destroy their medicine? Stay tuned.
Time is running out to stop a Ugandan parliament from passing “a bill that would make being LGBT in Uganda a crime punishable by death.”
All Out are running an online petition to stop this horrific bill. Their petition asks Ugandan President Museveni to stop the human rights violations by publicly vowing to veto the “Kill the Gays” bill:
In the next 72 hours, conservative lawmakers could move a bill that would make being LGBT in Uganda a crime punishable by death.
This hateful bill is part of a pattern of the Ugandan government’s violent repression of pro-democracy forces within the country - and time is running out to stop it.
The All Out petition has an open-letter to President Yoweri Museveni, which states:
President Yoweri Museveni:
The world is united with human rights activists in Uganda, in asking that you publicly declare your intention to veto the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill.
Don’t let this law, and the worsening human rights situation in the country, make Uganda in to a pariah nation in the international community.
Know your rights, for there is something going terribly wrong in the UK at the moment.
The Police have been arresting people on suspicion they may be about to commit a crime. It’s a bit like Minority Reportbut without the psychics.
In the UK you can be arrested if the Police:
have reasonable grounds for suspecting you are about to commit certain offences
In other words, if they think you’re up to something naughty, you’ll get done: or, ‘We’re all criminals now, and it’s only a matter of time before we’re all nicked.’
This was what happened to ex-professor of anthropology Chris Knight last week, when he (and two others) were arrested on suspicion of causing a possible nuisance. The nuisance was a piece of street theater, London, where Knight and others planned to re-enact the beheadings of Royalty.
It is also what happened to Charlie Veitch, a former city banker who was arrested last week on “suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.”
The connection between Knight and Veitch was the Royal Wedding, which allowed the Police to arrest anyone they thought might be planning, or, thinking of causing an offense.
But Knight and Veitch were only two of the 70 people arrested in pre-emptive raids of suspected protestors prior to and on the day of the Royal Wedding.
Nearly 100 people were barred from entering Westminster on the day of the wedding.
Now this is where it gets surreal: one demonstrator was arrested for singing ‘We all live in a fascist regime,’ to the tune of “Yellow Submarine”, as the Guardian reported:
About a dozen policemen grabbed the singer, sparking a clash with his colleagues, changing the mood of a small and peaceful gathering as he was handcuffed and bundled away. “He had articles on him to cause criminal damage,” explained Chief Inspector John Dale, to loud protests.
“You just incited a peaceful situation into violence,” shouted a bystander.
Police said they made a total of 52 arrests, which included 13 at Charing Cross railway station, where people were found to have “climbing equipment and anti-monarchy placards”. There was also 21 arrests made during raids of five squats in London on Thursday morning.
Officers also swooped on five people, three of whom were wearing zombie make-up, when they entered a branch of Starbucks on Oxford Street. They were arrested “on suspicion of planning a breach of the peace”.
They were all handcuffed and held in a police van and gave their names as Amy Cutler, 25, Rachel Young, 27, Eric Schultz, 43, Hannah Eisenman-Renyard, and Deborah, 19, an anthropology student at the University of East London.
“We’ve been pre-emptively arrested under suspicion of planning a breach of the peace,” Cutler told the Guardian from the police van. “We went to Starbucks to get a coffee and the police followed us in.”
“We were just dressing up as zombies,” said Amy, who was wearing a “marry me instead” T-shirt. “It is nice to dress up as zombies.”
While the right to peaceful demonstration in the UK is not absolute, it is “a vital part of a democratic society and has a very long and respected tradition in the United Kingdom.” Now with recent legislation brought in to deal with a range of threats, from terrorism to anti-social behavior, there is the a very real possibility that this “respected tradition” is being slowly taken from the British people.
Below Charlie Veitch‘s arrest and interview on ITV News, plus, 3 zombies, who were arrested, tell their story.
More from Charlie Veitch, plus interview with the arrested zombies, after the jump…
Almost 14 years after his death, William S Burroughs is on trial for corrupting Turkish morality. The Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into Burroughs’ novel The Soft Machine, which was recently translated and published by Sel Publishing House in January. Tukey’s English Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review reports:
The court referred to a report written by the Prime Ministry’s Council for Protecting Minors from Explicit Publications that accused the novel, The Soft Machine, of “incompliance with moral norms” and “hurting people’s moral feelings.” Sel Publishing issued a press release that included parts of their testimony in the court.
“It is impossible to understand the insistence in sending books written and published for adults to councils that specialize in minors. If we consider things from this perspective, then dozens of such reports could be written about TV channels, newscasts and thousands of books,” read the testimony given by the publishing house.
The testimony also argued that the Prime Ministry’s council had no credentials in literature, aesthetics or translation, thus causing what the representatives of the publishing house called a “freakish” decision by the council.
The council also accused the novel of “lacking unity in its subject matter,” “incompliance with narrative unity,” for “using slang and colloquial terms” and “the application of a fragmented narrative style,” while claiming that Burroughs’s book contained unrealistic interpretations that were neither personal nor objective by giving examples from the lifestyles of historical and mythological figures. None of the above, argued the publishing house, constitutes a criminal act.
The council went further and said, “The book does not constitute a literary piece of work in its current condition,” adding it would add nothing new to the reader’s reservoir of knowledge, and argued the book developed “attitudes that were permissive to crime by concentrating on the banal, vulgar and weak attributes of humanity.”
The representatives of the publishing house responded to these charges. “Just as no writer is under any special obligation to highlight humanity’s fair attributes under every circumstance, the measure of whether a book has any literary value or not, and the judge of what the book may add to the reader’s reservoir of knowledge, is not an official state institution, but the reader himself,” they said.
“Once again, societies comprised of modern, creative and inquisitive individuals are formed by reading and being exposed to literary texts and works of art that can be considered as the most extreme examples of their kind,” further asserted the defendants’ statement.
The testimony also invited members of the council to conduct “a simple Internet research” about the writer, and learn about the fact that Burroughs was one of the pioneers the “Beat Generation” that rebelled against the stagnant morality of the middle class in post-World War II America. The testimony also drew attention to the fact that the “cut-up” technique used in the book was once heralded as a great novelty among literary circles.
“Through this technique, Burroughs runs counter, not just to entrenched attitudes in people’s lifestyles but also in contradiction to [older] literary techniques. That being the case and since the aim of the book itself is to push boundaries, it is clearly absurd to search for criminal elements in the book by suggesting that the book does not conform with social norms,” further stated the press release.
“Moreover, it is also meaningless to expect William S. Burroughs, who was not raised in accordance with the National Education Law, or as an individual who ‘identifies with the national, moral, humanitarian, material and spiritual cultural values of Turkish society, and who always tries to exalt his family, country and nation,’ to have produced a text within this framework,” read the testimony. “It is clear and obvious that this case carries no weight nor any respectability outside of the borders of our country.”
“We demand an end to investigations that constrain our activities and the prosecution of books for any reason whatsoever,” concluded the statement.
Bonus: William Burroughs reads ‘Junky’ (abridged version)