Duma introduces bill to severely increase punishment for religious offense and desecration
26.09.12 11:43 By News Dept.
The Russian Duma has introduced a new bill that will make 'offending believers' feelings or desecration' punishable by a 5 year prison term, and increase the associated fines 100 fold. The bill has been prepared and submitted by representatives from all Duma and Federal Council parties, said the head of the Duma committee for public associations and religion organisations Yaroslav Nilov from the LDPR party.
The bill will add to the Russian Criminal Code Article 243.1 "Offending religious beliefs and citizen's feelings and/or the desecration of religious buildings, objects, or locations used to perform religious ceremonies," reports RIA Novosti.
In particular, a punishment of up to 300 thousand rubles, 200 hours community service and up to 3 years in prison can be given for: public offences, humiliation of worship or other religious rites and associations, or violation of the religious beliefs and feelings of citizens . For desecrations of any kind the punishment will be from 100 to 500 thousand rubles, 400 hours of community service and up to 5 years in prison.
This new bill was introduced after the punk group Pussy Riot was sentenced to 2 years in a penal colony for their 'Punk Prayer' in Russia's main church. After sentencing, there were several cases of cross desecration: On August 25, at night, 3 crosses were cut down in front of the entrance to the Smelovsky Verkhneuralsky region. Another cross was taken down in a village near Arkhangelsk. The group the People's Wave has claimed responsibility for the removal of the crosses in Russia. In Kiev, the feminist group Femen cut down a cross in support of Pussy Riot immediately after the verdict was given.
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