One of the Dutch citizens, Kris van der Veen — an LGBT activist — was believed to be making a documentary about gay rights in Russia when he and his two companions were arrested Sunday in the northern city of Murmansk (right) for violating the “rules of stay.”
Under that particularly puritanical piece of legal horse shit, simply being or appearing gay, or even just pro-gay, in Russia is enough to land you in the clink — whether you live there or not.
After being charged, the three foreigners were apparently free to go, but their hearing is scheduled for today in Moscow. If convicted, they could face hefty fines, up to 14 days in prison and then deportation back to the Netherlands. The Russian LGBT Network is reportedly providing legal assistance.
So if you’re thinking about going to Russia anytime soon: don’t. That is, unless you’re going to the Olympics in Sochi, in which case, leave the rainbows and sequins at home…figure skating is going to be really boring next year.
UPDATE: A judge has pushed the court date back to a later date.