Russia: Image of Putin in make-up, Falun Gong treatise, political video all classed as “extremist”, subject of prosecutions

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Further use of ‘anti-extremist’ laws being used to stifle dissent and new religions is reported by the SOVA Centre for Information and Analysis. In a summary introduced: “The following is our review of the primary and most representative events in the misuse of Russia’s anti-extremist legislation in June 2017”, a long list of egregious misuses of the laws is detailed.

SOMA reports: “In June, we learned about three cases of prosecution under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offences for dissemination (or storage with intent to distribute) of materials that, in our opinion, were inappropriately recognized as extremist.

In Abakan, the follower of the Falun Gong spiritual practice was fined for distributing Zhuan Falun, the banned treatise by Falun Gong ideologist Li Hongzhi. Sergei Tuguzhekov faced responsibility after the law enforcement authorities seized a copy of the treatise from him and a computer printout of the same from another practitioner in March.

Another case under Article 20.29 was opened in Togliatti against Sergei Ionov, an assistant to a municipal duma deputy from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation for posting on VKontakte the banned video Let’s Remind Crooks and Thieves about Their Manifesto-2002 by Alexei Navalny’s supporters. Ionov is sure that prosecution against him is connected to his role as the organizer of the June 12 anti-corruption rally.

Gennady Makarov, an activist from Yelets in the Lipetsk Region, received five days of administrative arrest for his posts on the social networks VKontakte and LiveJournal, which discussed the fact that the image of Vladimir Putin in makeup had been recognized as extremist. The posts were accompanied by a corresponding image, but the caption, which served as the basis for the ban, had been removed. Makarov believes that the prosecution is related to his civic activities – in particular, to his conflict with the chief of the city police – and intends to appeal the court decision.”

See the SOMA website for more information, here

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