Anti-evangelism law used against blogger reporter


Portal-Credo.Ru, 11 July 2017


A Tambov journalist, Sergei Stepanov, was fined 10,000 rubles in an administrative case regarding "illegal evangelism." The decision was issued by a magistrate judge of judicial district No. 1 of the Tambov region of Tambov province, Denis Lipatov. This was reported on 11 July by OVD-Info, with reference to the videoblog "Tambovskii VLOG," which Stepanov conducts along with journalist Alexander Smoleev.


The reason for making the case was a post by Stepanov on the social network VKontakte, where he invited readers to come for Easter to the "Source of Life" Church of Evangelical Christians-Baptists in Tambov. The prosecutor's office, and then the court, regarded this action as "conducting missionary activity with violation of the requirements of legislation on freedom of conscience and religious confession and on religious associations" (part 4 of article 5.26 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law).


The public was not admitted to the session; no reason why was given.


In the opinion of Tambov journalist Evgeny Pisarev, Stepanov was prosecuted for publishing on the "Tambovskii VLOG." A volunteer in the local office of Aleksei Navalny, Aleksei Poliakov, reported to OVD-Info that Stepanov turned out to be the only journalist who reported Navalny's arrival for the opening of the office. He was dismissed from his position as director of radio "Kotovsk" soon after the #Nadoel protest in Tambov on 29 April, from which he posted a live broadcast on Facebook. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 July 2017)

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