Russia might reconsider imprisoning people for social network reposts
This is already the second reasonable legal initiative in the country of late.
The Supreme Court of Russia is considering mitigating punishment for a social network repost of prohibited materials, Interfax reported.
When asked by the press whether the article providing for punishment for a repost of extremist and banned materials is going to become more humane, Vyacheslav Lebedev, the head of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, said: "The Collegium [ of the Supreme Court] is considering this issue."
Humanization of an article of the Criminal Code implies reduction of punishment, such as moving an offence that used to be considered a criminal act to the category of criminal acts that are not punished by deprivation of liberty, but by a fine or compulsory labor.
Surprisingly enough, this reasonable legal initiative has not been the first one recently: on February 15, Senator Anton Belyakov submitted a bill to the State Duma that mitigates another controversial law, Art. 20.3 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation ("Propaganda or public demonstration of Nazi attributes or symbols, propaganda or public demonstration of which is prohibited by federal laws"). The author proposes to decriminalize public demonstration of the Nazi symbols if it is done with no signs of propaganda in works of science, literature, art, as well as for informational and educational purposes.
The explanatory note to the bill says that currently the law does not draw a line between propaganda of Nazism and demonstration of symbols for purposes such as educational.
Both laws have been widely discussed and criticized, especially since they have brought about court sentences. People get sentenced to fines for posting historical photographs and imprisoned for reposting on social networks.