Europe

Pussy Riot-Inspired Anti-Defamation Law Takes Effect in Russia

(UPDATED) The unanimously approved law will criminalize religious insults with up to three years in prison.

Update (July 2): The Russian State Duma unanimously passed a bill to criminalize religious insults last week, according to the Moscow Times. The new law, which goes into effect today, will punish those who allegedly offend another's religious beliefs with steep fines and up to three years in prison.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wasted no time speaking out against the bill. According to USCIRF chair Katrina Lantos Swett, "Enactment of this bill would further erode human rights protections in Russia."

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Update (June 12): Interfax reports that the Russian parliament is on its way to approving a bill that "would criminalize insults of the religious feelings of believers and make them punishable by up to three years in jail." The bill still needs to be approved by the Upper House and President Vladimir Putin, but it could go into effect as soon as July 1.

According to RT, "The current bill is promoted by a large ...

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