Russian man arrested under anti-terror law after talking about philosophy of yoga
A Russian yoga teacher has been arrested for “illegal missionary activity” under controversial new laws designed to combat terrorism.
Dmitry Ugay is said to have fallen foul of the country’s anti-terror measures, dubbed a ‘Big Brother’ law by Edward Snowden, while giving a talk about the philosophy of yoga at a St Petersburg festival.
The computer programmer was arrested and charged with allegedly conducting illegal missionary activity, which is an offence under the so-called Yarovaya laws brought in last year.
Named after its author MP Irinia Yarovaya, the new legislation, signed off by President Vladimir Putin, includes restrictions on missionary activity, religious groups, and followers of what the government deems non-traditional religions.
Mr Ugay’s arrest comes after he was accused by fellow festival-goer, Nail Nasibulin, of recruiting young people to join his “pseudo-Hindu organisation”.
The 44-year-old claims he was bundled into a police car and ordered to sign a blank piece of paper, which he refused to do.
Two months after his arrest and subsequent release, he now faces a fine at a court hearing next week in St Petersburg, state news agency Rapsi reported.
But Mr Ugay, who admits following Hinduism, strenuously denied the other claims, telling the Meduza news agency: “I did not name a single religious organisation in my speech, nor did I use a single religious book, and did not name a single religious figure apart from Christ and Buddha.”