Thursday, July 15, 2010

At least they are not in prison

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the case of the Russian art curators who had been put on trial because they had dared to put on an exhibition that talked of the close link between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state (not that there is anything new in that notion). The sentence has now been passed and as the Economist says, it could have been much worse.
After a two-year long trial, the organisers of the “Forbidden Art” exhibition in Moscow which infuriated the Orthodox Church could have gone to jail if the prosecutors had it all their way. Instead, Andrei Yerofeev, an art historian and curator of the exhibition and Yuri Samodurov, the director of the Sakharov museum where it was held, were fined 150,000 Roubles and 200,000 Roubles respectively for “inciting religious hatred”.
Rightly, in my opinion, the article says that the compromise sentence was the result of a world-wide campaign organized by some Russian human rights organizations, though compared to the sort of campaigns we see about other countries this was small potatoes. Still, it probably worked. Or, possibly, there never was an intention to imprison the hapless curators.

Reuters reports that the two curators intend to appeal against the sentence and, if that fails, will go to the European Court of Human Rights, which gets more complaints from Russia than any other member state of the Council of Europe.

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