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Two Russian Curators Plan Appeal Against Art Conviction
Co-organizer of the Forbidden Art exhibition former head of Tretyakov Gallery modern trends department Andrei Yerofeyev (C) talks to journalists after verdict announcement near Tagansky District Court in Moscow, Russia 12 July 2010. The court found Andrei Yerofeyev and former director of the Sakharov Museum and Public Center Yuri Samodurov guilty of inciting hatred and enmity and sentenced them to pay fines. The indictment says that the exhibition presented images humiliating and insulting the Christian religion and believers. EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV.

By: Ben Judah

MOSCOW (REUTERS).- Two leading Russian art curators found guilty of extremism for an exhibition that angered Orthodox Christians said on Tuesday they would take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Moscow's Tagansky court on Monday imposed fines of around $6,500 and $4,900 on Yuri Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeyev for their 2007 Forbidden Art exhibition, which mixed religious icons with sexual and pop-culture images.

Among the exhibits were works depicting an Orthodox icon adorned with Mickey Mouse, a Russian general raping a soldier, and a Soviet-era Order of Lenin medal over Christ's head.

The court found the men had shown criminal intent in organizing the exhibition.

"We have launched an appeal and if this fails we will go straight to the European Court," Yerofeyev told Reuters.

Ksenia Kostromina, the men's lawyer, said they would seek to prove that their right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.

Yerofeyev said he had received death threats by email since Monday's hearing, including one reading: "The Russians are advancing ... you will be destroyed."

Both men said the judgment could embolden an increasingly confident and visible Russian far right.

Samodurov lamented moves to restrict artistic freedom in Russia under the presidencies of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

"Those who wanted to host political exhibitions or (use) an artistic language the Church disapproves of will be less willing to do so," he said. "People have become more afraid."

(Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Moscow | Andrei Yerofeyev | Yuri Samodurov | 2007 Forbidden Art Exhibition |

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