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People participating in the Pride Parade in Helsinki, June 2014. Picture: Romina Danell for Finland Today
People participating in the Pride Parade in Helsinki, June 2014. Picture: Romina Danell for Finland Today

The Russian anti-gay law has forced two gay men from Russia to flee persecution and seek asylum in Finland.

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According to Lappeenrannan Uutiset, since September, the men, aged 24 and 36, have been waiting for a decision at Joutseno Reception Centre at Konnunsuo, Lappeenranta, located in the South-Eastern Finland about 15 kilometres from Russia.

According to the men, they have been treated violently in their home country.

“There are about 20 asylum seekers a year based on their sexual orientation,” said Esko Repo, the director of the Finnish immigration service’s asylum unit.

The number, according to Repo, has been growing slightly since Russia started implementing its anti-gay laws in June 2013.

The law classifies “homosexual propaganda” as pornography, and makes it illegal to distribute material for example about gay rights.

The anti-gay bill can fine individuals and media groups found guilty of breaking the law and also introduces special fines for foreigners.

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