Legal Case of the Week: Evgeniya Lebedeva & Marina Verigina (Torfyanka Park)

posted 21 Nov 2016, 04:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Nov 2016, 04:19 ]
On 14 November 2016, the Investigative Commitee launched a criminal case for ‘offending the feelings of religious believers’ against two activists opposing construction of a church in a Moscow park. As The Moscow Times reports, 'the case was opened against Evgeniya Lebedeva, the leader of the protest movement, and Marina Verigina, a member of the group'. The protests concern Torfyanka Park in north-east Moscow, where since mid-2015 local residents have clashed with church activists who wish to see the construction of a church in the park. On Monday 14th November, police detained a total of 13 protesters at Torfyanka Park. The report said that Andrei Kormukhin, who is head of a church organization 'Forty Times Forty,' 'told the TASS news service that his organization had complained about the group several times.' Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called the protesters 'cultists and pagans.' The protesters are not facing investigation for offences relating to the strict public assembly laws in Russia, which would be usual for those detained in relation to a public protest, but for 'offending the feelings of religious believers'.

The BBC quotes journalist Maria Eismont as writing on Facebook that "At 6 in the morning police called on some comrades to carry out searches. Neighbours heard the knocking on the door and threats, that unless they opened up the door would be broken down. After the search they took them away, and some were taken together with members of their families.' Maria Eismont has also published photographs of the protest on Facebook.

Map of Torfyanka park: Wikipedia


'Two Moscow Activists Charged With Offending Feelings of Religious Believers,' The Moscow Times, 14 November 2016
'К заshchitnikam parka "Тоrfyanka" prishli s obyskami i zaderzhali,' BBC, 14 November 2016
Maria Eismont: Facebook
'Protivostoyanie v parke Torfyanka,' Wikipedia