PASTOR CHARGED WITH INCITING HATRED
Extreme views found in sermons of resident of Kuzbass
by Igor Lavrenkov
Kommersant, 10 November 2020
The Zavodsky district court of Kemerovo fined the pastor of the New Generation Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals), Andrei Matiuzhov, 10,000 rubles for inciting hatred. The case against the clergyman was opened on the basis of materials of the regional directorate of the F.S.B. The issue was a video sermon by Andrei Matiuzhov, "Love of money is the root of all evils," in which law enforcement perceived, among other things, a statement against Islam. In August of this year, the pastor already had been fined by a court for urging to show solidarity with Khabarovsk, where mass rallies were conducted because of the arrest of the governor.
The Zavodsky district court of Kemerovo imposed a fine of 10,000 rubles on the pastor of the New Generation Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith (Pentecostals), Andrei Matiuzhov. The court found him guilty of inciting hatred (on the basis of article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the RF). The order still has not taken legal effect.
The report about the imposition on him of the fine was made by the pastor of the New Generation church, Andrei Matiuzhov, on his Instagram page immediately after the court session. The case had been opened last week by the prosecutor's office of Kemerovo on the basis of materials of the regional directorate of the F.S.B. The issue was a video sermon by the pastor, "Love of money is the root of all evils," of 9 August, which was posted on a YouTube channel.
After the court session, Andrei Matiuzhov declared that he was found to be an extremist, since law enforcement perceived in his words specifically a statement against Islam.
Today on a video on Instagram he clarified that he stated in the sermon that "the great achievement of a person is to be righteous." He also declared that it is necessary to eradicate corruption, for which "it is necessary to change thinking." This part of his call was not noted by the expert analysis "conducted for the case by the guys from Moscow" (the Center of Socio-Cultural Expert Analysis—Kommersant), he said.
He said that in his sermon he spoke against radical trends in religion, leading to violence and to death, and not against the representatives of other nations and religions as such, Andrei Matiuzhov assures. However, as is clear from the ruling, the court regarded his words as aimed "against certain groups of the population distinguished by social and confessional identity." The court also saw in the clergyman's statements in the sermon the pastor's adherence "to extreme views and methods of action," and also that he "is summoning to political activism similar to the mass unsanctioned actions in Khabarovsk, aimed to overthrow the existing government," the ruling says. In the end, the preacher's judgments were considered to be "aimed at the demeaning of the dignity of a person or group of persons on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, ancestry, or attitude toward religion."
Andrei Matiuzhov had already the past summer been fined 20,000 rubles on the basis of part 2 of article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the RF (organizing unsanctioned activity) for calling for showing solidarity with Khabarovsk, where rallies were held in support of the arrested governor, Sergei Furgal. According to Andrei Matiuzhov, the affidavit was composed because of a video in which he described the situation in Khabarovsk and called for going "to feed the pigeons." The central court of Kemerovo ordered a fine on 21 August, which was appealed on 12 October unsuccessfully. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 November 2020)
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