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Russian Court sanctions Church censorship

Director and curator charged with “incitement of national, racial, or religious enmity”

Moscow

A Moscow court has convicted Yuri Samodurov, director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum and Public Centre, and curator Ludmila Vasilovskaya, on charges of “incitement of national, racial, or religious enmity”. Their conviction could have led to three years in prison, but the judge instead fined them each 100,000 rubles ($3,500). A third defendant, the artist Anna Mikhalchuk, was exonerated of all charges. The court said the January 2003 exhibition, “Caution! Religion” was “insulting and blasphemous” because it displayed works that denigrated Christian symbols. The exhibition’s organisers, however, said their goal was to bring public attention to the growing commercialisation of the Orthodox Church. Mr Samodurov says he will appeal the decision.