26 Sep 2019 19:35

Gay couple from Russia, who are witnesses in case involving children they adopted, seeking asylum in U.S

MOSCOW. Sept 26 (Interfax) - A same-sex couple with two underage children, whose adoption led to a criminal case against a custody official, has requested political asylum in the United States, the human rights LGBT organization Vykhod told Interfax.

"Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev have requested political asylum in the U.S. It is the continuing interest of the Russian law enforcement agencies in the family's life that has led to this," Vykhod said.

A criminal case was opened against custody officials who allowed the adoption of two boys by a gay couple for the first time in Moscow in July. The officials are employees of the social security department of the Maryino neighborhood of the Moscow Southeastern Administrative District. The case was opened based on the improper fulfilment of the duties to exercise control over the living conditions of adopted children resulting from a bad attitude to service that led to considerable violations of the rights and lawful interests of citizens, as well as the interests of the state protected by law.

According to earlier reports, the residences of the couple, and also of the parents and brother of one of the men, were searched. According to the human rights organization, the men are witnesses in the case.

The LGBT initiative groups Stimul, based in Moscow, and Vykhod, based in St. Petersburg, are providing legal assistance to the couple in Russia. "No one contacted the lawyers in the past month and law enforcement agencies are not considering their motions within the periods of time envisaged by law. Under such circumstances, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev have decided not to return to Russia in order to ensure the children's safety," the human rights activists said.