Supreme Court separates criticism from extremism
MOSCOW, June 29 (Itar-Tass) — Criticism of politicians and officials may not be equal to extremism, just like critical evaluation of religions or of any social group, expressed over a scientific discussion or in political debates. This was a decision a plenary session of Russia’s Supreme Court adopted. It generalised practice of judicial investigations of extremist cases.
The session suggests separating terrorism from extremism. For example, it says calls for acts of terror are not to be considered as extremism, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Depending on the case circumstances, it will be considered as a purely terror crime. At the same time, responsibility for extremist rhetoric will be applicable exclusively if the latter is made publicly, for example, in the media, on the Internet or at a meeting.
The newspaper’s experts “take positively the initiative of the judges, but insist on further amendments to respective articles of the criminal law. Member of Russia’s Civil Chamber Anatoly Kucherena is convinced it is too early to speak about unification of law enforcement practice regarding extremism cases. On the other hand, he said that ‘laws may be improved endlessly’.”
Head of the Communist Party’s legal service Vadim Solovyev speaks about the Supreme Court’s decision as a correct one. At the same time, he worries the power may use the article about arousing hatred to suppress the opposition and opponents.
The plenary session dooms politicians and officials to massive flows of unfavourable comments, as it believes that the range of criticism against them is much wider than that against individuals, the Trud writes.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda says that the issue has been on the agenda for quite a time, and the explanations have been wanted to stop legal collisions in cases of the kind. For example, where police or officials are voluntarily declared as a ‘social group’, and then any criticism of their activities is considered to be ‘fanning up of hostility’’ as a criminal case.
The Novye Izvestia quotes expert of the Sova information and analytical centre Maria Rozalskaya as saying that the Supreme Court’s decision is not only timely, but even revolutionary to an extent. “The fact that a legislator should specify the notion of a social group is a success already. Many human rights activists have been struggling for the decision for years on end. But let us see what it will bring in reality. One thing is to take a good decision, and the other is to see how it is being used,” she said.