The Russian legal system has convicted 32-year-old Viktor Nochevnov and fined him for reposting satirical cartoons about Jesus Christ. A Sochi court (near the Black Sea) has found him guilty of offending religious believers’ feelings, specifically those of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Radio Free Europe reports that he posted the cartoons on the Russian social media site VKontakte, over the course of a year from October 2014. He has now deleted all the images in question. But the cartoons included one of Jesus in the gym and another quoting Yuri Gagarin as he was about to take off, while on the cross. And another had Jesus dressed in a Nazi uniform. Because of course it did.
The 2013 law could have seen him imprisoned for up to three years, for public actions committed with the goal of insulting religious sensitivities. And a Russian blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky was convicted with a suspended sentence for the crime of uploading video of playing Pokemon Go in church — seeing his name added to an official government list of designated terrorists and extremists. Reports suggests that such convictions are on the rise in Russia as a result of the new law, enacted in response to Pussy Riot’s 2012 “punk prayer” inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
Nochevnov states in the video above that prosecutors tried to convince him to plead guilty, but that he refused, saying he only reposted them and wasn’t the creator. His claim that he did not mean to offend anyone was labelled “farfetched” and that there was “no way he could not have known” that the cartoons would offend.
An appeal is planned.