Legal Case of the Week: Vadim Tyumentsev

posted 4 Jan 2016, 08:32 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Jan 2016, 08:36 ]
On 30 December 2015 Russian blogger Vadim Tyumentsev was sentenced to five years in prison by a court in the city of Tomsk for publishing hate speech and calls to extremism online, after posting videos to YouTube and VKontakte critical of Russian actions in Ukraine. Tetyana Lokot, writing in Global Voices, points out that the Tomsk district court found Tyumentsev guilty under two articles of the Russian criminal code—Article 282 (“actions aimed at inciting hate or enmity”) and 280 (“public calls to extremist activity”). His five years sentence also includes a ban on the blogger publishing any content online for three years after his sentence ends. Tetyana Lokot says that while Tyumentsev had posted dozens of videos on both YouTube and VKontakte, “court reports do not indicate which videos the judiciary found fault with.”

Christopher Miller, writing in Mashable, notes: “The unusually harsh decision against Vadim Tyumentsev […] is the latest evidence that the Russian government appears set to intensify its crackdown on dissenters online and that it is willing to dole out real prison terms to keep them quiet. The crackdown began after Putin, who famously called the Internet a 'CIA project,' returned as president in 2012 and Russia passed a slew of laws that tightened the government's control over the flow of news and information online.”

Radio Liberty reported that human rights activists condemned the sentence. Sova Centre, which monitors nationalism and xenophobia in Russia, called the sentence "too harsh, considering it was only for posting videos online." The Memorial Human Rightgs Centre described the sentence as "outrageous" and called for the verdict to be quashed.

Tetyana Lokot, 'Russian Blogger Gets Five-Year Prison Term for "Inciting Hate" Online,' .Global Voices, 31 December 2015
Christopher Miller, Russia sentences blogger to 5 years in Siberian prison as Internet crackdown intensifies, Mashable, 30 December 2015
Мелани Бачина, Томский блогер Вадим Тюменцев приговорен к 5 годам колонии, Радио Свобода, 30 December 2015
'Russian Court Sentences Blogger To Five Years In Penal Colony,' RFE/RL, 31 December 2015

Photo: RFE/RL