Moscow court passes guilty verdict to Forbidden Art-2006 exhibition organizers

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A Moscow district court on Monday passed a guilty verdict to the organizers of the controversial Forbidden Art-2006 exhibition of fueling national and religious hatred.

A Moscow district court on Monday passed a guilty verdict to the organizers of the controversial Forbidden Art-2006 exhibition of fueling national and religious hatred.

The controversial art exhibition came under scrutiny in 2007 when prosecutors launched an inquiry in response to a suit by a Christian organization that accused the show's curators of defacing religious symbols and fueling national hatred.

The allegedly anti-Christian Forbidden Art 2006 display, held at Moscow's Andrei Sakharov Community Center, caused increasingly wide resonance in Russia because artwork that had been barred from Moscow's mainstream museums and galleries were displayed there.

The accused, Sakharov Center Director Yury Samodurov and the ex-head of the Tretyakov Gallery's New Trends Department, Andrei Yerofeyev, dismissed the charges.

The lawyer of the defendants, Anna Stavitskaya, said that the sense that the artists put into their work has "nothing in common with the claims that initiated the trial."

Prosecutors have demanded to sentence Samodurov and Yerofeyev to 3 years in prison.

The Sakharov Center found itself at the center of a similar scandal in 2005 when it hosted an equally controversial exhibition, Beware Religion. Samodurov was then convicted of instigating ethnic and religious hate, but only paid a fine.

The exhibition featured pictures portraying Jesus Christ as Mickey Mouse and Communist leader Vladimir Lenin, as well as pornographic scenes painted on the Crucifix and other Christian symbols.

MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti) 

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