1 Oct 2018 15:43

Posting extremist organization's symbol on social media not grounds for criminal case - state prosecutors

MOSCOW. Oct 1 (Interfax) - The publication of images of extremist or terrorist organizations on social media without calling for participation in their activities is not grounds for opening a criminal case, Russian Prosecutor General's Office representative Alexander Kurennoi said in an official video broadcast.

"There are organizations recognized as extremist or terrorist on the territory of Russia, and a person has published an emblem. The fact of the publication of the emblem of such an organization in itself is not grounds for opening a criminal case if there is no call [for participation] in it," he said.

Kurennoi said criminal cases over fanning hatred or enmity and belittling human dignity have been opened against people who liked extremist materials on social networks. "It was called 'on likes and reposts.' We need to make a distinction here: there is not a single criminal case for likes, but there are for reposts, because reposts are publication of information," he said.

Kurennoi said he hopes that the number of criminal cases opened on the basis of extremism on the Internet will decline in light of the Supreme Court Plenum's comments on the issue.

Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika signed a decree increasing state prosecutors' oversight in the detection and suppression of extremist crime on September 21, Kurennoi said.

On September 20, the Supreme Court issued comments on the Plenum's Decree on the Judicial Practice of Criminal Cases Involving Extremist Crimes of June 28, 2011.

According to the Supreme Court, 783 people were convicted of extremism in Russia in 2017, which is 0.01% of all criminal cases. Some 75% of them (572 people) were convicted of fanning hatred or enmity or belittling a person's dignity, three were acquitted, 83 cases were thrown out of court, and 13 people were ordered to undergo medical treatment.