Orthodox priest convicted for criticism of Russia's aggression in Ukraine


RIA Novosti, 11 March 2022


A resident of Kostroma oblast was fined 35,000 rubles for discrediting Russian troops in a sermon, a Kostroma district court reports.


"The case of an administrative violation of law specified in part 1 of article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the R.F. against a citizen of the R.F. was reviewed. On 6 March the defendant, in a public place during the conduct of a religious service, in the presence of parishioners, by means of a public report about the attack by armed forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and ongoing shelling of Ukrainian cities . . . , discredited the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation in defense of the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens," the court's report says.


It is noted that the man posted similar information "with propaganda images" on the internet. The defendant, with respect to whom an indictment was composed, did not admit guilt.


"After studying the evidence submitted, the court came to the conclusion that the man is guilty of committing the violation of law of which he is charged, and it imposed an administrative fine of 35,000 rubles. The court's decision has not taken legal effect," the report says.


According to information of news media, the reference is being made to the rector of the church of the Resurrection of Christ in the village of Karabanovo, the priest Ioann Burdin. This information was corroborated by the website of the parish. Burdin thanked parishioners who helped him amass the total for payment of the fine.


Article 20.3.3 was inserted into the Code of Administrative Violations of Law on 4 March and it provides for a maximum penalty for individuals of a fine of 100,000 rubles. The first decisions of courts in Russian regions based on these indictments were reported on 6 March. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 March 2022)

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