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Karelian blogger receives 10 thousand euros for being prosecuted after a post about the ROC

Sofia Bogatkina
Source: https://pxhere.com

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has awarded Maxim Yefimov, the head of the Karelian Youth Human Rights Group*, 10 thousand euros as compensation for moral harm. In 2012, the blogger was charged with incitement to religious enmity and disparagement of the Russian Orthodox Church’s representatives because of his post called, "Karelia against priests". The ECHR published the ruling on the official website.

The ECHR ruled that Russian courts and security forces had violated Articles 10 and 11 of the Convention for Human Rights on freedom of assembly and expression in relation to Maxim Yefimov. According to the court, the blogger addressed the post to a specific religious organization in Karelia, rather than to individual believers. In particular, the court has not found any calls for discrimination, incitement and violence in the post.

According to the ECHR, the Russian courts have not proved that Yefimov's claims about building churches at public expense and the conversion of kindergartens into religious facilities were untrue or slanderous in nature.

In 2012, a criminal case was initiated against Maxim Yefimov under Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Incitement of Hatred or Enmity, as well as Abasement of Dignity of a Person or a Group of Persons on the Basis of Attitude to Religion) for publishing the post called, "Karelia is tired of priests". The blogger published the note on the Youth Human Rights Group’s* website in 2011. In it, Yefimov spoke sharply about the excessively close cooperation of the Russian Orthodox Church's Karelian diocese with the regional authorities.

The investigation submitted an application to commit the activist to a mental health institution. However, the Petrozavodsk City Court refused to consider the application.

In 2012, Yefimov was granted asylum in Estonia, after which the blogger was put on the federal wanted list. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Karelia eliminated the Youth Human Rights Group*.


* В материале упомянута организация Молодежная правозащитная группа, деятельность которой запрещена в РФ
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