Russian blogger sentenced for "extremist" post ,Convicted of "inciting hatred or enmity".
MOSCOW - A Russian man who described local police as "scum" in an Internet posting was given a suspended jail sentence on Monday for extremism, prompting bloggers to warn of a crackdown on free speech online.
Savva Terentiev, a 28-year-old musician from Syktyvkar, 1,515 kilometres (940 miles) north of Moscow, wrote in a blog last year that the police force should be cleaned up by ceremonially burning officers twice a day in a town square.
Convicted on charges of "inciting hatred or enmity", Terentiev was given a one-year suspended term on Monday, Russian news agencies reported.
Free speech campaigners said the ruling could create a dangerous precedent for free speech on the Internet, a vibrant forum for political debate in a country where the mainstream traditional media is deferential to authority.
"This was an absolutely unjustified verdict," Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the SOVA centre in Moscow, a non-governmental group that monitors extremism, told Reuters. "Savva for sure wrote a rude comment ... but this verdict means it will be impossible to make rude comments about anybody."
The verdict was discussed in Russian blogs on Monday. "I don't know now if I should be writing here or not," blogger Likershassi posted on one website.
"The fact that Terentiev got a conditional sentence is unimportant. What's important is the precedent," a blogger named Puffinus wrote.