Rights groups urge action as Russia prosecutors appeal acquittal of feminist activist Yulia Tsvetkova

By | September 27, 2022

The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) Monday warned that Russian activist Yulia Tsvetkova’s rights are in danger ahead of a September 27 hearing. Tsvetkova was charged with violating Russian laws by posting her drawings of the female body to social media. Tsvetkova was acquitted on July 15, and prosecutors appealed on July 22.

Tsvetkova claims the images were intended to destigmatize the female body, but Russian prosecutors allege that the images are pornographic in nature, and that, by posting them online, Tsvetkova subjected minors to pornographic materials in violation of Russian law. During a preliminary hearing in March 2021, proceedings were closed to the public because of the allegedly pornographic nature of the images. According to the European Court of Human Rights, “the holding of court hearings in public… protects litigants against the administration of justice in secret with no public scrutiny.”

The CFJ urged the the upholding of the acquittal, stating “the simple illustrations were part of her work as a body positivity and [LGBTQ+] rights campaigner.” Amnesty International also urged action ahead of the hearing, saying “[i]f the appeal is granted Yulia Tsvetkova will be again at risk of imprisonment simply for exercising her right to freedom of expression.” Tsvetkova has already faced administrative penalties for her work and has been designated a “foreign agent” by Russian authorities.