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Sakharov Museum Director Charged with Inciting Hatred

Russian authorities have charged the director of Moscow's Sakharov Museum with inciting hatred and offending human dignity.

A lawyer Anna Stavitskaya for museum director Yuri Samodurov says prosecutors filed the charges against him Tuesday. The case follows a 2007 exhibition at the museum of art works that had been banned from exhibition in other museums the previous year.

The works, some of which offended the Russian Orthodox Church, depicted Mickey Mouse, Lenin, the face of Christ as well as swear words. The works were viewed through small holes in a sheet so as not to offend those passing-by.

The case against Samodurov is the second in five years. He was fined in 2006 for another exhibit at the museum that included works commenting on religion. Samodurov has insisted the exhibits were a defense of freedom of expression.

The Sakharov Museum is a cultural institution and public organization seeking to promote the growth of a civil society in Russia. It honors Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov who died in 1989.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.