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HRWF (22.11.2016) – The religious situation is worsening for believers in the Republic of Bashkortostan also known as Bashkiria, a republic of Russia located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. Its capital is the city of Ufa. With the population of 4,072,292 as of the 2010 Census, Bashkortostan is the most populous of the republics in Russia.

Bashkurdistan, the first ethnic autonomy in Russia, was established in November 1917. On 23 March 1919, it was transformed into the Bashkir ASSR, the first Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in RSFSR. In accordance with the Constitution of Bashkortostan and Russian Federation Constitution, Bashkortostan is a state (country) but has no sovereignty.

Deputies of the State Assembly of Bashkortostan propose to increase the penalty to the founding members of religious association encroaching on citizens’ personality and rights

On 25 October 2016, it was reported that the deputies of the Bashkortostan State Assembly have begun preparations for a proposal to change Article 239 of the Criminal Code (creation of nonprofit organization which encroaches on the personal rights of individuals and citizens).

The first part of Article 239 of the Criminal Code (creation of nonprofit organization whose activities involve violence against citizens or threaten harm to the health of others, as well as management of such association) is punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles or the salary of two years, or probation, community service, or incarceration for up to four years. Taking into consideration the experiences that the law enforcement agencies have had over the last while, the deputies of the Bashkortostan State Assembly are proposing to increase the fine from 300,000 to up to 500,000 rubles and the prison sentences up to six years instead of four so that the article may work more efficiently.

For those who violate the 2nd part of Article 239 of the Criminal Code (creation of NGO’s or structural units of a foreign non-profit, non-governmental organization whose activities are associated with inciting citizens to refuse to perform their civic duties or to commit other types of illegal actions as well as the management of such organizations or structural units) the Deputy of Bashkiria offered the punishment for a crime associated with this part of the article being up to 300,000 rubles or imprisonment of up to 4 years (as opposed to the present punishment of a 200,000 ruble fine and 3 years imprisonment).

Source: Sova Center

In Bashkortostan, the head of the rural Muslim community was fined for possessing banned books

HRWF (22.11.2016) – http://bit.ly/2gdKVsz – In a mosque located in the Russian village of Imay-Karmaly, a religious book banned by the Russian Government was discovered by local authorities.

On 21 September 2016, the Davlekanovskiy regional court of the Bachkortostan Republic imposed a fine of 1000 rubles on the chairman of the local Muslim Church Organization, Mahalla, and their leader, Graphite Kharisova, for the possession of extremist materials with the intent of mass distribution.

The reason for the prosecution of Kharisova was a result of the possession of a book entitled “The Future Belongs To Us” by Seyeda Kutva, which was found during a search being conducted on the Mosque. This edition of the book was recognized as extremist material by the Krasnoyarsk District Court of the Astrakhan region in 2012 and was included in the federal list of extremist materials.

Kharisov explained in court that the literature in his mosque had been obtained from other mosques and that this literature could have possibly been forgotten by those working on the construction of the mosque.

Sova Center believes that the book “The Future Belongs To Us”, was unjustly recognized as extremist material: “We have not found anything leading us to believe that this this book would inflame terrorism or extremist acts. The statements within the book, though they criticize other religions, do not inspire hate. For this reason we consider the prosecution of Kharisova to be unjust.”

Translation/adaptation by Scott and Olga Allen for Human Rights Without Frontiers

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Also:
See HRWF website: https://www.hrwf.eu 
HRWF database of news and information on over 70 countries: https://hrwf.eu/newsletters/forb/ 
List of hundreds of documented cases of believers of various faiths in 20 countries: https://hrwf.eu/forb/forb-and-blasphemy-prisoners-list/  

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