A total of 65 individuals and religious communities are known to have been prosecuted in 2014 across Russia for possession of allegedly “extremist” banned religious literature which does not appear to incite violence or hatred, Forum 18 News Service notes.
Of these, 56 ended up with punishments. The cases were brought under Administrative Code Article 20.29 (“Production and distribution of extremist materials”), and all the cases related to the alleged possession of Muslim or Jehovah’s Witness literature by individuals, religious communities, shopkeepers or stall holders.
Courts continue in 2015 to rule Muslim and Jehovah’s Witness literature “extremist”, opening the way for more prosecutions. In 16 of the 65 known 2014 cases, courts ordered the religious literature to be destroyed.
Prosecutors may use Article 20.29 convictions to seek to have a religious community forcibly dissolved.
These 65 literature-related “extremism” cases are part of a wider pattern of investigations and prosecutions of people exercising their freedom of religion or belief.
Source: Forum18 News Service: Full story here