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Yandex CEO faces prosecution under Russia’s anti-LGBT law

Yandex CEO faces prosecution under Russia's anti-LGBT law

The chief executive of Yandex, a leading internet company in Russia, is facing charges for allegedly violating the country’s law that bans “LGBT propaganda” among minors, according to a court notice.

Artem Savinovsky, who heads the Nasdaq-listed firm, could face a fine or imprisonment if found guilty of the offence, which has been widely criticised by human rights groups as discriminatory and oppressive.

The court notice did not specify the date of the hearing or the details of the alleged violation. Yandex said it would appeal any court ruling against its CEO.

The prosecution comes a day after another court fined an online film database owned by Yandex one million rubles ($11,048) under the same law for displaying information about LGBT-themed movies.

Yandex is one of the most popular internet platforms in Russia, offering services such as search, e-commerce, online advertising, and ride-hailing. It also operates in several other countries, including Turkey and Israel.

Russia adopted the law banning “LGBT propaganda” in 2013, claiming it was necessary to protect children from harmful influences. The law has been used to crack down on LGBT activists, media outlets, and individuals who express support for LGBT rights.

According to Human Rights Watch, the law “effectively legalised discrimination against LGBT people and cast them as second-class citizens”.

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