Viktor Krasnov, 38, above, is on trial in Russia for insulting the feelings of religious believers during an Internet exchange.
Krasnov is being prosecuted under a controversial 2013 law that was introduced after punk art group Pussy Riot was jailed for a performance in Moscow’s main cathedral, his lawyer Andrei Sabinin was quoted as saying in this report.
The case brought against him centres on an Internet exchange in which Krasnov was involved in 2014 on a humorous website in his hometown of Stavropol. He wrote:
If I say that the collection of Jewish fairy tales entitled the Bible is complete bullshit, that is that. At least for me. There is no God!
One of the young people involved in the exchange then ran off to lodge a complaint with the authorities and Krasnov was brought to trial. If convicted he could be jailed for one year.
Krasnov, whose trial began last month, spent one month in a psychiatric ward last year undergoing examinations before he was finally deemed to be sane.
Krasnov’s lawyer insisted that his client was “simply an atheist” and that he had taken aim at both “Halloween and Yiddish holidays” in the same exchange.
Meanwhile, it is reported from Germany that a retired teacher has been fined €500 (£400) for defaming Christianity under the country’s rarely enforced blasphemy laws.
The church is looking for modern advertising ideas. I can help.
Jesus, our favorite artist: hanging for 2,000 years and he still hasn’t got cramp.
The former teacher argued the anti-Christian messages were protected by his right to free expression. But the court ruled the slogans amounted to defamation of religion and had broken Germany’s blasphemy laws.
He was told by the judge:
You should have known that what you did is a criminal offence. The Pope and the cross are central elements of the Catholic faith. I do not consider this art. Freedom of expression is limited by the law.
I come from a Christian home, I was an altar boy. Later I realised faith rests on dubious foundations.
Under German law, blasphemy is only illegal if it is considered to be “capable of disturbing the peace”.
Those found guilty can be sentenced to up to three years in prison, but the law is rarely enforced.
People can be convicted of blasphemy for defaming any religion. In 2006, a man was given a one-year suspended sentence for g distributing sheets of toilet paper with the word “Koran” printed on them.
Hat tip: Peter Sykes (Russian report)