Mr Aleksey Fedorin was charged and tried in Rostov, Russia, for “mass distribution of extremist materials,” despite his being 85 years of age and legally classified as disabled. In a court in Tselina, Judge Viktoria Samokhina ruled to fine him 1,000 rubles, which sounds like a lot but is actually only USD $35. That said, 1,000 rubles may not be a lot of money by western standards, but for an 85 year old disabled Russian with no means of income, and on a pitiful ‘pension’, its probably a big chunk out of his weekly living expenses.
Police officer S. Chernigovskiy collected all of the publications that Mr. Fedorin shared with his neighbors in the village of Sredniy Yegorlyk over many years and filed a report claiming that Mr. Fedorin distributed publications that had already been placed on the federal list of extremist materials.
In spite of Mr. Fedorin’s age and feeble condition, prosecutor A. Lysenin summoned him to the police department and questioned him for eight hours. The prosecutor did not inform Mr. Fedorin of the charges he would be facing and claimed that he (Mr. Fedorin) distributed extremist literature between June 15 and 18 of 2010. The troubled was that Fedorin was actually ill during that time – ill enough that he was incapable of any activity, let alone distributing pamphlets, booklets, etc.
In the courtroom, before hearing the case the judge dismissed all those who came in support of Mr. Fedorin. The judge also failed to take into consideration Mr. Fedorin’s testimony in court, in which he refuted the claim that he distributed the publications in question.
What were the “extremist materials” in question? Well, given Mr. Fedorin’s prison record I can hazard a guess – I am presuming that the title of the publication in question starts with “W” and ends with “atchtower”. He did a 5-year stretch back in the days of the Soviet Union… for being a Jehovah’s Witness.