Siberian artist fined over Support Pussy Riot T-shirts
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NOVOSIBITSK, February 1- RAPSI. The Novosibirsk Central District Magistrate's Court fined artist Artyom Loskutov 1,000 rubles ($33.30) on Friday under one of two cases filed against him for offending religious feelings, he told RIA Novosti.
The date of the other hearing has not yet been scheduled.
On October 23, prosecutors in Novosibirsk initiated two administrative cases against Loskutov for causing religious offense by selling T-shirts supporting Pussy Riot.
Loskutov is known for his vocal support of Pussy Riot. In March, images styled after icons featuring figures in Pussy Riot-esque balaclavas appeared throughout the streets of Novosibirsk. One poster showed a haloed mother and child, with the woman wearing a Pussy Riot-type stocking-mask. Law enforcement authorities believe Loskutov was responsible for the images.
Loskutov has stated on his website that he was "exchanging" - as opposed to selling - T-shirts in support of Pussy Riot for 800 rubles ($25.70), and the money was to be donated to the group.
He said this was not a violation of the law. Police officers posed as buyers and bought two T-shirts from him. Upon payment, they produced their badges and then filed a report regarding the violation.
Loskutov was charged with unlawful business activity, which is punishable by a fine ranging from 500 to 2,000 rubles ($16-$64.3). The authorities also found him guilty of trading in a place that has not been designated for that purpose.
In late February, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas performed a "punk-style" prayer at the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry. The Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced three Pussy Riot members to two years in prison on August 17.
Later, the Moscow City Court commuted Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich's sentence from two years in prison to immediate release on probation due to the fact that she was detained by security prior to reaching the stage, and thus did not actually participate in the punk rock prayer. The judge left Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's sentences unchanged.