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Russian Court Clears Yoga Teacher Of Illegal 'Missionary' Activity

  • RFE/RL

Russian yoga teacher Dmitry Ugay attends a court hearing in St. Petersburg on January 18.

Russian yoga teacher Dmitry Ugay attends a court hearing in St. Petersburg on January 18.

A Russian computer programmer who was accused of conducting illegal missionary work after giving a lecture on yoga has been cleared of the charges by a court in St. Petersburg.

The 44-year-old Dmitry Ugay was detained by Russian police in October while giving a talk on the philosophical origins of yoga after police received a complaint accusing him of proselytizing for a sect.

He was charged with illegal missionary activity -- an administrative offense under counterterrorism legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin in the summer of 2016.

The legislation placed restrictions on missionary activity and introduced administrative fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($840) for people who proselytize outside of venues registered to recognized religions.

Critics said the case against Ugay showed that the legislation is loosely-worded and open to abuse.

With additional reporting by Meduza
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