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Russian artists found guilty of race hate crime

aiTwo men behind a 2007 controversial Moscow art exhibition were found guilty in a Russian court of inciting hatred. Yuri Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev set up the questionable exhibition entitled Forbidden Art in Moscow at the Sakharov Museum. The men were both fined for the exhibit.

The show was condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church and many others for artworks such as one that showed Jesus Christ depicted with a head of Mickey Mouse.  In another painting Jesus Christ was painted with a head that was the Order of Lenin medal.

Also within the exhibition was a spoof Coca-Cola ad that had the slogan ‘This is my blood’ painted within it that a visitor could see by looking through peep holes.

The two men, the former director of the museum, Samodurov, and Yerofeyev, an art expert, stated that they put together the exhibition in an effort to fight the art censorship that exists within Russia.

Prosecutors launched a formal investigation after a complaint was filed by an Orthodox group.

Samodurov received a fine of £4,300 and Yerofeyev received a fine of £3,200.

The trial started in April of 2009 and faced criticism not only from the Orthodox church but also those within the art community with 13 renowned Russian artists bonding together to write a letter to the Russian President Dimitry Medvedev asking him to halt the trial explaining a guilty verdict would rock the contemporary Russian art world.

Amnesty International also released a statement last week stating that a guilty verdict would hurt the status of freedom of expression within Russia.

However, the legal action was defended by the Council of People who issued the complaint that spurred the trial.

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