DEFENSE CHALLENGES FINE FOR DISTRIBUTING BIBLES ON TERRITORY OF RADIO ENGINEERING UNIVERSITY IN RIAZAN
SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 18 November 2019
In Riazan, a municipal court fined Oleg Alekseevich K. for "illegal" missionary activity. The defense filed an appeal in the October district court of Riazan.
On 15 November 2019, it became known that on 1 November 2019, in Riazan, a municipal court of judicial district No. 18 fined Oleg Alekseevich K. 5,000 rubles on the basis of part 4 of article 5.26 of the Criminal Code of Administrative Violations of Law (conducting missionary activity in violation of the requirements of legislation on freedom of conscience and freedom of religious confession and on religious associations).
The charging document concerning violation of law was composed on 23 September 2019 by officers of the Riazan police. According to the charging document, "at 12:00 noon, at the entrance to the territory of Riazan State Radio Engineering University [Oleg K.] conducted missionary activity in the name of the 'Gideons' association of Evangelical Christians in violation of the procedure provided for by article 24.2 of the federal law 'On freedom of conscience and religious association,' in particular he presented to a young man the book 'New Testament and Psalter.'"
At the police department, Oleg K. wrote that "I did not draw anybody into a specific religious organization of 'Gideons' Evangelical Christians or into a religious group of 'Gideons,' since such organizations do not exist on the territory of Riazan and Riazan oblast."
In the opinion of Oleg K.'s attorney, "giving to passers-by the book 'New Testament' without informing them about the activity of a specific religious organization, its doctrine, or the conditions and times of attending worship services, or without drawing them into a specific religious organization, is not missionary activity." However, attorney A. Pchelintsev clarified: "even if K. conducted missionary activity, he has a right to do so: he possessed two properly worded authorizations—one for work in prisons and hospitals, and another for conducting missionary activity."
The defense filed an appeal in the October district court of Riazan.
"Such a broad interpretation of the concept of missionary activity that was applied by the municipal judge in the current case," the attorney explains, "permits classifying any action of an individual for dissemination of religious information and literature as illegal missionary activity, which creates a dangerous precedent for infringing the legal rights and liberties of believers and serves as a basis for bring people to administrative accountability without rational basis." (tr, by PDS, posted 18 November 2019)
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