Russian Art Curators Fined, Avoid Jail Time in Case Challenging Freedom of Expression

It’s verdict time in Moscow. In a case closely followed by Human Rights First over the past two years, two Russian art curators were ordered to pay fines of up to $6,500. AP’s David Nowak breaks down the verdict.

Human Rights First issued on a Defender Alert in support of Yuri Samodurov, a human rights activist and former Director of the Sakharov Center in Moscow, and Andrei Erofeyev, now dismissed from his position as a curator at the State Tretyakov Gallery. The pair were put on trial for allegedly violating Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code (inciting national and religious hatred) by organizing the “Forbidden Art–2006” exhibition.

More than a thousand people joined HRF in urging Attorney General Chaika to drop the charges against Samodurov and Erofeyev. The Andrei Sakharov Foundation President, Edward Kline, made the case for his colleagues and friends on our Huffington Post channel, noting that “this drawn-out prosecution is an illegitimate effort to punish people for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free expression.”

The trial is history now, but we’ll continue to advocate that the Russian government begin systematically investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of violent hate crimes instead of misusing antiextremism legislation to silence human rights defenders and government critics. For more information, turn to our report on hate crime in Russia or read a Fact Sheet on Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

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Published on July 12, 2010

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