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Russian Parliament Passes Contradictory Anti-blasphemy Law
26.05.2013 23:30
Russian Parliament Passes Contradictory Anti-blasphemy Law

Russian Duma, the lower house of Russian Parliament, has passed a second reading of a religious offense law that has provoked a firestorm of controversy. The date for the third and final reading is still unknown.

      The second reading was approved overwhelmingly, with 304 Duma deputies voting for, only 4 against and 1 abstention.

      The legislation has been softened, in particular, Russians would face a year in jail for "intentional" and "public" displays that cause "offense to religious sensibilities,” down from three in the previous draft. Desecrating religious sites and paraphernalia would be punishable by up to three years in jail, down from five.

      Opponents of the legislation at least welcomed that the second reading did not create a separate article of the penal code, but folded the new legislation into an existing article on Obstruction of the Right to Exercise Religious Liberty, though the previous maximum sentence for that offense was one year in prison.

      The original draft bill was proposed of the fallout after much-talked-of "punk prayer" performed by the protest band Pussy Riot in Moscow’s main cathedral in February last year. Three members of the band were convicted on broader charges of hooliganism. Two of the three are still in jail.

Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: Russian society Russian legislation anti-blasphemy law Russian religion  

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