A Russian artist is facing years in prison for distributing pornography after posting drawings of vaginas on social media.
Yulia Tsvetkova, 27, could spend another six years in prison after being detained a year and a half ago for posting drawings of vaginas on the Russian social networking site, VKontakte.
The activist for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights founded an online group called Vagina Monologues with the aim of tackling the taboo and sexualisation of women’s bodies.
Tsvetkova is accused of contravening Russia’s infamous ‘gay propaganda’ law by posting colourful illustrations of female genitals to the group.
This law which passed in 2013 has been used by the Russian authorities to persecute any marginal groups or individuals that go against societies view of “traditional family values”.
Eights months later, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning same-sex marriages.
Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, Natalia Zviagina, believes Yulia's case represents a rollback on free speech for the LGBT community in their country.
In The Independent, Natalia said: “During this ordeal, Yulia has spent time under house arrest and twice been subjected to extortionate fines under the so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law”.
The trial has sparked protests across Russia and an online petition demanding the charges be dropped, which has now exceeded 250,000 signatures.
People who have signed the petition have left comments of support for Yulia.
Camilla Anderson said: "Women are free to express how they feel about gender and I support equality between genders and freedom of speech."
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Мерья Йокела said: "I'm signing this petition because Julia Tsvetkova has done nothing wrong. She is defending human rights and she has for that full right!"
Jarred Barron said: "People should always have the right to express themselves and not be intimidated to conform against their will."
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