Defense attorney of defendant in anti-evangelism trial speaks out


by Margarita Savelieva

RIA Novosti, 12 August 2016


On Monday a court will consider the administrative case against Krishnaite Vadim Sibirev, who is threatened with a fine for violation of the law on freedom of conscience that was changed after the adoption of the "Yarovaya Package," attorney Mikhail Frolov told RIA Novosti.


"This is the first case in Russia on part 4 of article 5.26 of the Code on Administrative Violations of Law of the RF, "Violation of legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religious confession and on religious associations," on which Sibirev was put on trial after he distributed religious literature. Amendments to the law on freedom of conscience took effect on 20 July and 8 days later a report was drawn up against Sibirev," Frolov said, adding that his client is threatened with a fine of from 5 to 50 thousand rubles.


The attorney said that the next session will be held on Monday, 15 August. Frolov also noted that our existing legislation does not forbid distribution of religious literature, including in public places. This is a right that is guaranteed by the constitution and by the federal law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations."


"Earlier in the trial I filed a petition for summoning a witness. A policeman came and he sees a prohibition in point 2 of article 24.1 of the law on freedom of conscience. This point says that missionary activity is conducted without hindrance in religious organizations, and from this the policeman drew the conclusion that it is prohibited in other places. These are the constitutional rights of citizens and what is not prohibited by law is permitted," the attorney noted. Frolov reported that a local resident went to the police after he had received a book as a gift from Sibirev.


According to the anti-terrorism "Yarovaya Package," amendments to the law on freedom of conscience affected missionary activity, which prescribed the procedure for its performance.


Krishnaites are followers of one of the religious movements within Hinduism, who worship one of the numerous incarnations of the god Vishnu, Krishna. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 August 2016)


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