When considering the appeal, the Bryansk Regional Court overturned the sentence and sent the case of transgender woman Michelle, who was sentenced to three years in prison in late November for drawings (where experts saw images of minors) in the Japanese erotic genre of hentai, for re-examination. According to the court decision, Michelle was released from jail. This was reported on January 22 by the Interfax News Agency with reference to her friend Lada Preobrazhenskaya.
As Lada Preobrazhenskaya, the organizer of the public campaign in her defense, told Interfax, the Bryansk Regional Court overturned the sentence of the Bryansk Sovetsky District Court which sentenced Michelle (her real name is withheld) to three years of imprisonment in a standard regime penal colony under Part 1 of Article 242 of the Criminal Code (Making and Distribution of Materials with Pornographic Pictures of Minors). The regional court sent the case for re-examination to another judge and decided to release Michelle from jail.
If the regional court had confirmed the decision of the lower-level court, Michelle would have been sent to a male colony, since she has not undergone a gender reassignment surgery and is a male according to documents. In addition, she had to give up her hormone therapy during her stay in jail which could exacerbate her chronic diseases.
Activists supporting Michelle feared for her life and health because of intolerance towards sexual minorities in Russia's prison culture.
The case against Michelle was initiated because of erotic drawings in the Japanese pornographic genre of hentai published on vk.com. The Ministry of Internal Affairs experts concluded that these drawings depicted boys under the age of 14. A similar case of the "dissemination of pornography" was brought against Yulia Tsvetkova, Khabarovsk artist and LGBT activist who drew images on the topic of female physiology and published them in the Vagina Monologues Community.