MOSCOW: A court in Russia’s region of Chechnya has banned the anti-Islamic film that sparked deadly protests across the Muslim world, saying in a preliminary ruling it could destabilise the situation in an already violent region, officials said on Friday.
A court in the Chechen capital Grozny ruled that the distribution of the film could have “serious negative consequences connected to the political destabilisation in the entire region,” said a statement by the regional ministry for national policies, media and information.
The court ruling called the film “socially dangerous and provocative,” said the ministry, citing its top official Murat Tagiyev.
The preliminary ruling came in response to a request by the regional ministry to declare the controversial film extremist, a ministry official told AFP.
The Kremlin, which fought two wars against separatists in Chechnya over the past 20 years, is struggling to contain a simmering insurgency there.
According to Russian legislation, the ruling of a local court will have to be enforced across the entire country.
“This is a ruling of the court that will have to be observed across Russia,” said Ruslan Idrisov, an aide to the minister, adding that Russian media will be banned from distributing the online film.
However, federal officials have yet to explain how or if such a ban will be imposed across the country’s Internet. Google has so far refused to remove the film from popular online video site YouTube which it owns.
A spokesperson for Google in Russia told the state news agency RIA Novosti that the company would ban access to the film in Russia after it would be officially notified by a court that the film has been declared illegal.