20 December, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 07/01/2013
RUSSIA
Criticised by pro-democracy activists, Russia's anti-blasphemy law comes into effect
by Nina Achmatova
Anyone who offends the "religious feelings" could get hefty fines (US$ 15,000) and up to three years in prison. Doubts linger about the law's vagueness but for the Russian Orthodox Church, the new legislation is still "too mild."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - As of today, anyone "Causing offense to the feelings of religious believers" faces up to three years in prison, after President Vladimir Putin signed into law the so-called anti-blasphemy bill. Under the legislation, Moscow has increases penalties and fines for those who insult the feelings of religious believers. Although backing the law, the Russian Orthodox Church finds the legislation not harsh enough.

"Public acts that manifest patent disrespect for society and are committed with the aim of offense to the religious feelings of believers" are punishable with fines of a maximum of 300,000 roubles (US 9,000) or the offender's salary for a maximum period of two years, compulsory labour for up to one year, or a maximum prison term of one year if such acts are committed outside places of worship or other religious sites.

If the offense is committed in religious places, the fine goes up to 500,000 roubles (US$ 15,000), three years of community service and three years of imprisonment.

The measures are contained in amendments to Article 148 of the Criminal Code on "Obstruction of the Exercise of the Right of Liberty of Conscience and Religious Liberty".

Another part of the bill deals with "deliberate public acts of vandalism" against religious literature, "items of religious veneration" or religious symbols.

Such acts carry fines of 30,000 to 50,000 roubles (US$ 900 to 1,500) or compulsory labour for a period of up 120 hours for ordinary people and fines of between 100,000 and 200,000 roubles (US$ 3,000 to 6,000) for officials.

The new law would also raise the maximum fine for the obstruction of religious activities as allowed by Article 148 from 80,000 (US$ 2,500) to 300,000 roubles (US$ 9,000).

Following the Pussy Riot scandal, the Moscow Patriarchate has pushed hard for the new law. During the incident, members of the feminist punk rock band staged an anti-Putin performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow last year.

Two of the women who participated in the so-called "punk prayer" are serving a two-year sentence in a labour camp for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."

A series of acts of vandalism against religious symbols in different parts of the country followed the incident, with icons soiled and crosses torn and broken.

Although the law has been criticised within the Russian Orthodox Church for its severity, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society, described the new penalties as "too mild," saying that three years in prison "are not enough."

In an interview with Channel Mir-24, Chaplin noted that the actions banned by the new law "are very serious" and could lead to true "bloodshed".

Earlier, anonymous sources within the Moscow Patriarchate told AsiaNews that, "Unfortunately, rather than educate society, this leads to repression,"

For their part, human rights activists are concerned that anyone who criticises the close relationship between the Church and the state might be censored to protect religious feelings.

The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights had criticised the first draft, saying that the wording was too vague and could result in the miscarriage of justice.

One drafters of the law, Mikhail Markelov, a Duma Member for the ruling party United Russia, responded to the criticism citing recent surveys by Vtsiom State institute, according to which 82 per cent of Russians are in favour of the new law.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/18/2004 russia
Kasper in Moscow: Russian Catholics' hopes and expectations
by Lorenzo Fazzini
02/14/2012 RUSSIA
Religion becomes a compulsory subject in all Russian schools
by Nina Achmatova
07/31/2014 RUSSIA - UNITED STATES
For Orthodox Church, Moscow can do what it wants in state-religion relations
10/11/2012 RUSSIA
Pussy Riot are separated, but vow protest will continue
by Nina Achmatova
02/07/2011 RUSSIA
Media accuse Patriarch Kirill of being state official
by Nina Achmatova

Editor's choices
IRAQ - VATICAN
As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers
by Amel NonaPersecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.
IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch calls for fasting on Christmas Eve for refugees' return to Mosul
by Joseph MahmoudMar Louis Sako calls on the faithful not to celebrate Christmas and New Year in a "worldly" fashion, with pomp and abundance, out of solidarity with the people who fled the Nineveh plains, persecuted by the Islamic Army. AsiaNews is joining the fast proposed by the Patriarch and calls on all readers to give what they would have otherwise spent in support of the campaign 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul'.
IRAQ - ITALY
Letter from Archbishop of Mosul: Thank you for your aid, supporting the plight of refugees
by Amel NonaThe donations made through the "Adopt a Christian from Mosul" campaign are used to buy food, warm clothes, blankets for refugees and rent houses or caravans given the early onset of winter and. Two women have defended their Christian faith before the Islamist militants who wanted to convert them, despite the threat of death. A refugee among refugees, Msgr. Nona discovers a new way of being a pastor.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.