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Karelia Blogger who Spoke Out against Russian Orthodox Church Appeals against House Search

17 April 2012


Photo: Maksim Efimov

Today, Maksim Efimov, chair of the Karelian Human Rights Youth Group, lodged a cassation appeal with the Republic's Supreme Court against an order made by the Petrozavodsk City Court sanctioning a search of his flat.

Efimov pointed out that he considered the decision to search his home to be unlawful and biased. He is being represented by Olga Rybalova, a lawyer with the Agora Human Rights Association.

In his cassation appeal to the judicial bench for criminal cases at the Supreme Court of Karelia Maksim Efimov stated that the investigation had not presented sufficient information to the court to carry out a house search.

"The investigator did not present any arguments and the court did not ask why the confiscation of paper and electronic media belonging to me, and likewise certain other objects, documents and valuables, might progress the investigation into the case, when the publication imputed to me and disseminated on an internet site is available there for anyone, as has been pointed out in the ruling that is being challenged," Maksim Efimov wrote in his appeal.

Efimov also asserts that the investigation could not provide any objective evidence that the author of the material published on 31 December 2011 and entitled "Karelia is tired of priests" had any designs or aims to foment hatred or enmity or likewise to denigrate the dignity of any group of persons on the grounds of their religion. Efimov was certain that the investigator had not presented any evidence that the text contains any statements justifying or supporting the necessity for genocide, mass repressions, deportations or the execution of any other illegal actions, including the use of violence against the supporters of any religion. In the opinion of Efimov's defence, the court also failed to take into account the circumstance that not a single member of the clergy or anyone from the bishop's office had approached the investigative bodies with a complaint against this material. Dmitry Vasko, acting head of the Investigative Committee in Karelia, had previously made a statement regarding this. A criminal case was brought on the grounds of a report made by the head of the investigative department dated 7 March 2012.

Readers will recall that Maksim Efimov had been questioned at the Muezersky district Investigative Committee for Karelia on 13 April. Efimov is suspected of "fomenting hatred or enmity and likewise denigrating the dignity of groups of people on the grounds of their religion" (Article 282, Section 1, of the Criminal Code of Russia). During the night of 10-11 April a search was made of the human rights defender’s apartment and a personal computer was confiscated.
Rights in Russia,
19 Apr 2012, 07:14