A woman in Siberia apparently faces up to 6 years in prison on ‘extremism’ charges for posting memes on social media considered insulting by Russian investigators, part of a thriving trend of Russians being reprimanded for online activity.
Maria Motuznaya, 23, tweeted Monday that a squad of investigators had raided her apartment in early May, seized her phone and computer and accused her of posting objectionable photos on the VKontakte social network, including satirical images of priests and Jesus Christ.
Internet freedom advocates condemn what they call ‘skyrocketing government censorship’ under Article 232 of the Criminal Code, which sights hate speech.
Russia’s Supreme Court projected that convictions under the extremism statute more than tripled between 2012 and 2017.
A scanned page of what Motuznaya stated was a police file characterizing one of her captions as “containing linguistic signs of the white race’s superiority over the black race.”
“I was told that I was offending people by storing the images and that I should confess my crime,” Motuznaya wrote, claiming she was later threatened with imprisonment.
Motuznaya said she was influenced to ‘come out’ with her tale on social media after reading a blog post about a prison torture case that has jolted Russia over the past week.
Her trial on two charges of extremism and hate speech, which carry a combined sentence of 6 years, has been set for August 6, according to a court ruling that she affixed to her tweet.