An environmental activist could face jail after criticizing Russian villagers who refused to protest against businesses dumping pig manure into their local river.
Valery Brinikh, director of the Biological Studies Institute in Russia’s southern Adygean republic, called residents “cowards” who “lacked dignity” when they refused to stand up to their local pig farm.
Police ruled that his comments, which were published in an article titled "Silence of the Lambs," could be prosecuted as “extremist” calls for violence against the Adygean people, a protected ethnic minority group, some of whom live in the village.
Mikhail Fedotov, Chairman of Russia's Presidential Human Rights Council is among those who have called for the academic to be acquitted. "[Brinikh's article] may be harsh, but there is no extremism in it," he said.
Brinikh is facing trial at Maykop regional court, Russia's Gazeta.ru reported. If found guilty, he faces up to three years imprisonment.