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Russia: Law giving a worryingly broad definition of “extremism” passed at its third reading

08.07.2006    source:
The law envisages harsh penalities for what is classified "extremism", with the classification not only broad, but also disturbingly loose and subject to interpretation

The State Duma accepted at third and final reading the law modifying what is to be understood as “extremist activities”.  According to the news agency RIA novosti, with 226 votes needed to pass amendments to the law “On fighting extremist activities”, the law received 338 votes, with 99 Deputies voting against and one abstaining.

According to this law, manifestations of extremist activities will now include public “slander” about state officials carrying out their duties. Slander about an official holding office is also deemed extremist activity if he or she is accused of committing an act which contains elements of extremism, or of commiting a serious or particularly serious crime.  The court is to determine whether the official was slandered.

In addition, the following are now also classified as extremism: obstructing the legitimate activities of state bodies, electoral commissions, as well as the officials working in these bodies; the use of violence against representatives of the authorities, or the threat to do so; attempts made on the life of a state or public figure in order to prevent his or her state or political activities; carrying out mass riots, hooliganism or acts of vandalism because of ideological, political, racial, national or religious enmity or activities.

Propagandizing ideas of exclusiveness, superiority or the inferiority of citizens on the grounds of religion, social position, race or ethnic origin are also  added as manifestations of extremism.

The Article “Extremism” may now be applied in the case of preparation of printed, audiovisual and other material intended for a wide audience if they contain calls to extremism. The author in such cases will also face charges of extremism.

See also: Russian Human Rights Defenders express grave concern over a new and dangerous amendment to Federal Legislation against extremism

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