Criminal Code amendments on religious offenses expected in Duma next week
MOSCOW, September 25 - RAPSI. Next week, deputies plan to submit amendments to the Criminal Code to the State Duma on establishing criminal liability for causing religious offence to believers and desecrating a sacred place, United Russia's Sergei Popov, first deputy chairman of the Committee for NGOs and Religious Organizations, said on Monday.
MPs highlighted the importance of punishment for these offences at the meeting of an inter-faction group for protecting Christian values.
"We will stand in favor of reintroducing the article on liability for causing religious offence to the Criminal Code," Popov said at the hearing.
Currently, the article in the Criminal Code (on vandalism) stipulates a fine of up to 40,000 rubles ($1,284), compulsory community service or up to three months in jail for desecrating a building and its surroundings, damaging property on transport or in a public place.
MPs are also going to urge the media to be responsible and considerate when publishing coverage of religious events. In addition, the media must be careful not to incite religious hatred in any way or to offend believers' feelings.
Earlier, Liberal Democratic Party's Yaroslav Nilov, the head of the Committee for NGOs and Religious Organizations, told RIA Novosti that the committee's deputies were drafting a bill for the introduction of criminal liability for causing religious offence. Nilov called the current fine of up to 1,000 ($32.12) a farce.
He said that the bill will impose punishments depending on the gravity of the crime and will range from fines and compulsory labor to imprisonment.