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Russia: Librarian found guilty for holding “extremist literature”

10 July 2017
Natalia Sharina, ex-director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, was found guilty of having “extremist literature” at the library.
Photo: Empty shelves at the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow on 10 March 2017/Wikicommons

 

On 5 June 2017, Natalia Sharina, the former director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow was given a four-year suspended sentence after being found guilty of “inciting hatred”, “embezzlement” and having “extremist literature” at the library, reported Amnesty International.

Sharina was arrested in October 2015 when authorities confiscated books from the library that were considered to be anti-Russia propaganda written by Ukrainian nationalist Dmitri Korchinski, which she and her lawyer Ivan Pavlov contend were planted in a political case. The librarian compared her case to show trails under Stalin’s rule.

Pavlov said they plan to appeal the case and take it to the European Court of Human Rights if the appeal fails.

According to BBC at the hearing, every defence argument was dismissed, including the testimony of witnesses who said they saw police plant the “extremist” content in question.

The library, though still open, no longer has any of the 52,000 books and periodicals on its shelves. The materials have been packed up and will be added to another library’s collection.

The librarian’s case comes in the aftermath of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine leading to the contested sovereignty of Crimea.

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