Moscow hate publisher gets jail time

A Moscow city court upheld a hate speech conviction against the editor of an anti-Semitic newspaper.

Alexander Aratov, editor-in-chief of the radically right-wing Russkaya Pravda, was sentenced to three years in prison for violating Russia’s anti-hate speech laws, the Interfax news agency reported.

According to a statement by the Moscow procurator’s office, the Moscow Zyuzino District Court found him guilty of “incitement to racially and religiously motivated hatred, the humiliation of a group of individuals, and the abuse of office.”

Experts at the trial said articles written by Aratov “incited racially and religiously motivated hatred of Judaism and Christianity.”

Aratov will most likely serve one year in prison followed by two years of probation.

Violations of Russia’s stringent hate crimes statutes are only sporadically prosecuted, often with great disparity of cause. On Dec. 9, radical leader Alexander Belov of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration urged his followers to take up arms at a Moscow meeting in full view of police, who did nothing.

Such disparities have led critics to claim that the statutes are used for political purposes.

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