Russian Blogger Convicted Of Inciting Hatred

Calls police

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A Russian blogger who referred to local police as "scum" in a post received a suspended jail sentence on Monday for extremism, leading other bloggers to express concern over online free speech.

Savva Terentiev, a 28-year-old musician from Syktyvkar, 940 miles north of Moscow, wrote a post that suggested the police should be dealt with by burning officers two times a day in a town square.

He was convicted for "inciting hatred or enmity," and given a one-year suspended sentence. Free speech advocates fear the ruling could set a bad precedent for free speech online.

"This was an absolutely unjustified verdict," Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA centre in Moscow, a non-governmental group that monitors extremism, told Reuters. "Savva for sure wrote a rude comment … but this verdict means it will be impossible to make rude comments about anybody."

The blog post that led to his prosecution has been taken down. A Russian newspaper quoted him as writing in the post,"Those who become cops are scum," and said police officers should be put on a bonfire.

During his prosecution Terentiev wrote an open letter to Russian President Dimitry Medvedev proclaiming his innocence.

"It is our duty to take responsibility for words on the Internet but … I did not call for the inflaming of social hatred towards the employees of the police department," he wrote in the letter posted on his blog.

Russian Blogger Convicted Of Inciting Hatred
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  • http://www.wikiworldbook.com ben leefield

    Well I guess this is a pretty "hot" topic these days and everyone has their own opinion.

    I’m not sure what the rule should be, but I think there’s a difference between public and private speech and a line to drawn about inciting hatred – replacing the subject matter with a different subject matter should give a clue – for instance, would it be acceptable to the author to replace the word "police" with "Russian" or in my case "Englishman" – or for others  "Muslim" or "Christian" etc.

    However, this gets grey in the area of humour – reference the Monty Python work "The Life of Brian" which was pretty offensive to many Christians at the time, but accepted as a work of comedy by most…

  • http://www.lightingsupply.com Commercial Lighting Guy

    Thats what happens when you dont live in a free country!

  • Guest

    This has nothing to do with free speech.  Free speech does not mean being able to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater.  Hate speech is not free speech.

    How is "the police should be dealt with by burning officers two times a day in a town square" not calling for "the inflaming of social hatred"???

    The sad commentary is that if the blogger was suggesting such violence against Jews, Muslims or Blacks, the police would not even bother him.  They only care about themselves.


    • Guest

      Yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater is so completely different than this.  That is something that can get people trampled causing injury and/or death.  Obviously very direct results.

      "Hate speech" as you call it does not cause direct results and requires people to agree with the person, and then take action.

      More importantly you need to determine where the line is drawn between "hate speech" and say….disagreeing with the Police with a comment such as "…the police would not even bother him.  They only care about themselves."  That comment just might land you in jail some day with the mentality you are agreeing with.  Careful :)


  • http://onemanbandwidth.com/wordpress Lon

    I don’t like that you sucked people in by making them believe that "scum" is what got the blogger in trouble.

    I live in China where free speech is non-existent and am from America where we pretend it exists when it does not run counter to political. big business marketing or special interest agendas.

    The guy advocated setting police on fire in a country where voluntary social order is still at question. Had he done that in certain States n America (or for sure here) he might have been arrested by homeland secrity folks and investigated, without the right of counse,l until they determined he was not Bin Laden.

    There are plenty of examples of dissdents now locked up worldwide….Do something for free speech and post about Hu Jia and a few other good people sentenced and JAILED in Iran, China, Nepal, South America……

    Cheap marketing stunt with no useful purpose….

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