From: The Guardian

Russian yoga fans alarmed at arrest of teacher under new law

A yoga teacher in Russia has been charged with illegal missionary activity under a controversial new law designed to fight terrorism.

Computer programmer Dmitry Ugay was detained by police in St Petersburg in October while giving a talk at a festival about the philosophy behind yoga.

Ugay says he was stopped 40 minutes into his discussion, put into a car and taken to a police station without being informed of his apparent offence.

The 44-year-old now faces a fine for allegedly conducting illegal missionary activity, an administrative offence under the new Yarovaya law, a package of legal amendments intended to fight terrorism that is named after its author, the MP Irina Yarovaya. …

Signed off by Vladimir Putin in July, the Yarovaya amendments include restrictions on religious groups and missionary activity that could put pressure on followers outside what the government considers “traditional” religions. [Russian Orthodoxy only – ed.] …

In Vladivostok last month, the new legal provisions regarding missionary activity were invoked when a court authorised the destruction of 36 copies of the Bible that had been confiscated from the Salvation Army. The books had not been correctly labelled as religious literature, in line with Yarovaya’s amendments. That decision was later reversed as too harsh, but the confiscation of the texts remained in force. The Salvation Army was also fined.

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