A Russian court has overturned a ruling to hand an eight-year-old girl back to her lesbian mum in Australia.
Custody over Diana – not her real name – is the subject of a bitter legal wrangle between her mother Margaret, 29, in Australia and her father Georgy, 41, in Russia.
Only weeks ago, on 23rd May, Saint Petersburg Dzerzhinsky District Court ruled that the girl should be returned to her mother.
This was despite a criminal case being launched against the 29-year-old – who is married to a woman – for “corrupting” the schoolgirl.
Margaret is now on a Russian wanted list.
Georgy had taken Diana with him to Russia after Diana allegedly told him that her mother had involved her in sex games.
The father – from Leningrad Oblast – did not agree with the District Court’s ruling, so he hid with his daughter while his lawyer prepared an appeal.
On 20th July, Saint Petersburg City Court overturned the District Court’s ruling and transferred the case to the Vyborg Leningrad Oblast City Court.
Georgy and Diana no longer have to hide, but Diana’s fate remains undecided.
Margaret’s relatives told Russian media that Margaret is afraid to leave her daughter with Georgy, as he is allegedly a drug addict.
The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) reports that the “position of LGBT people in Russia was bad before the war [in Ukraine] started and has worsened since then”.
In an article on 8th June, CEPA author Kseniya Kirillova wrote: “[T]he persecution of LGBT people in Russia has increased every year, mirroring the growth of aggressive homophobic propaganda.”