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Prosecutors Seek Prison Time for Art Curators

Prosecutors asked Moscow's Tagansky District Court on Monday to sentence Yury Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev, who are accused of inciting religious hatred by organizing an art exhibit, to three years in prison, Interfax reported.

The duo organized the 2007 "Forbidden Art" exhibit, which drew harsh criticism from the Russian Orthodox Church for featuring a painting of Jesus with the head of Mickey Mouse.

Samodurov, former curator of the Sakharov Museum, and Yerofeyev, former head of the contemporary art department of the Tretyakov Gallery, have denied wrongdoing during the trial, which began in August 2008.

The charge of inciting religious hatred carries the maximum sentence of five years.

Amnesty International earlier called on the authorities to drop the charges.

Samodurov was convicted in 2005 on identical charges for an exhibition titled "Watch Out, Religion!" but got off with a fine of 100,000 rubles ($3,220).

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