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Side by Side LGBT Film Festival Wins Foreign Agent Case on Final Appeal in City Court, Saint Petersburg.

On 4th October, 2013 the City Court of St. Petersburg overturned two previous court decisions which had found the organization Sideby Side LGBT Film Festival in violation of the foreign agents law. The fine of 400,000 rubles (9,000 Euros) has been annulled.

Citing the reason for the decision, Mikhail Pavlyuchenko, Deputy Chairman of the Saint Petersburg City Court, stated: "the Magistrates Court had incorrectly applied the procedural provisions of the Administrative Code, and in the case of the District Court the Judge overlooked these significant violations of procedural requirements. We are pleased with the decision and finally justice has been done! We are grateful to our lawyers, Dmitry Bartenev and Sergey Golubok, who displayed a high level of professionalism throughout the case, to all the individuals and organizations who rendered help and support during these difficult times and to those who made generous donations in order to pay the fine. At present we are requesting the return of the funds paid to the authorities and additionally we will be suing for damages incurred by the organization. We hope that other NGOs also being prosecuted under this law will also win, restoring justice to the court system in Russia.

The case against the head of the organization is still pending and the appeal against the guilty verdict, incurring a fine of 300,000 rubles (7,000 Euros) is expected to be heard in late- October early November, 2013.

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