The number of people convicted for extremism in Russia has increased three-fold over the past five years, the Gazeta.ru news website reported Thursday, citing a recent study.
In 2011, the number of convictions for extremism stood at 137 people, while in 2015 the number had increased to 414, according to a report prepared by the Center for Economic and Political Reforms.
The report states that the biggest increase has been seen in the number of people convicted for public calls for extremist activities and separatism. Their number rose from 12 to 69.
There has also been a significant growth in the number of convictions for “inciting hatred or hostility” with the use of the Internet — 82 verdicts handed down in 2011 compared to 369 last year.
A law passed in 2002 implies criminal responsibility for incitement of national, racial or religious hatred or enmity as well as the humiliation of human dignity. Analysts and human rights activists have repeatedly said that the law can be interpreted too broadly.
On April 26, Russian prominent blogger Anton Nossik was charged with extremism for an online post in which he warmly welcomed Moscow's military campaign in Syria. Nossik now faces up to 4 years in prison.