Court overturns fine for publishing photo of Russian paratrooper

Russian veteran paratroopers celebrating the Paratrooper's Day.
Russian veteran paratroopers celebrating the Paratrooper's Day. Source: SCANPIX / AFP

The Viru County Court has overturned a fine the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) handed to a woman who posted an image of a Russian paratrooper with the paratroopers' flag on social media. The police found that the photo, published in August, constituted illegal promotion of symbols tied to Russia's anti-Ukraine aggression.

The police ordered the woman to pay a fine of €120 after it found the image in breach of a recently amended part of the Penal Code that treats with supporting and justifying international crime and according to which public display of symbols tied to aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes merits a fine of up to 200 fine units or detention.

The Viru County Court overturned the fine on Monday.

Even though the court did not accept the woman's excuse that the uniforms of Russian and Ukrainian paratroopers are very similar and described the decision to post the photo as ethically dubious, it also concluded that the image was not directly tied to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, war crimes or genocide perpetrated there.

The court found that paratroopers have existed in Russia since World War II and were not created for the purpose of attacking Ukraine, adding that interpretations that would tie all references of Russian armed forces automatically to Ukraine would be too wide and baseless.

The ruling has not entered into force and can be appealed inside 30 days.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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