HIV Activist Fined Over Condom Handout by Memorial

A Russian court on Wednesday imposed a 10,000 ruble (about $300) fine on the organizer of a recent handout of condoms to promote HIV awareness near a World War II monument.

The fine was imposed for "violating the procedure for holding a public rally, assembly, demonstration, march or picket," a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Tolyatti, Russia's automotive capital, on the Volga River, told RIA Novosti.

A group of HIV activists handed out condoms on May 19 near the city's Eternal Flame and, next to the memorial, they placed portraits of famous people who had died of AIDS, including former Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Their actions were condemned by a number of World War II veterans, local media reported, though police said they had not received any complaints from the public.

More than 69,000 new cases of HIV were recorded in Russia last year, the country's top public health official said in March. Gennady Onishchenko has said about 720,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Russia since 1987, when the first case was officially registered.

Read more