State Duma to reinstate punishment for religious offence
MOSCOW, September 14 - RAPSI. Lawmakers of the State Duma Committee for Non-Governmental and Religious Organizations are drafting a bill on introducing criminal liability for causing religious offence, committee head Yaroslav Nilov told RIA Novosti on Friday.
During the meeting of the State Duma Committee for Non-Governmental and Religious Organizations on Thursday, Igor Ponkin, lawyer and director of the Institute of State Confessional Relations and Law, proposed restoring an article of the previous Russian Criminal Code (Article 143 on "the violation of the freedom of conscience and religion," which is punishable by up to a year in prison).
"The committee is already developing a draft law in this regard. Today, the administrative liability (for causing religious offence) is a maximum of one thousand rubles ($32), which is a laughable amount: a person driving through a red light is fined one thousand rubles, while someone who causes offence to millions of believers is subject to exactly the same fine. It is ridiculous," Nilov said.
He said that the draft law will stipulate the punishments depending on the seriousness of the crime and will include fines, correctional and compulsory community labor, and imprisonment.