Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, celebrates mass at the Russian Orthodox church in Havana, on February 14, 2016. Retired Cuban President Fidel Castro thanked Patriarch Kirill for his contribution to the friendship between both countries. AFP PHOTO/Alexandre Meneghini/Pool / AFP / AFP POOL / ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI (Photo credit should read ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI/AFP/Getty Images)

MOSCOW — It was just before dawn when close to a dozen police officers wearing helmets and body armor burst into the apartment where Yevgeny Lebedev lives with his wife and children in northern Moscow.
“They forced me to lie on the floor with my face down,” Lebedev recalled of the raid in mid-November. “They wouldn’t let me look up while they searched the apartment. My children were terrified. It took my five-year-old daughter a long time to get over it. She thought they were criminals who had come to rob us.”
Despite the heavy-handed police tactics, Lebedev, 38, was not a terrorist suspect. Nor was he accused of murder, armed robbery, state treason or any other serious crime.
The officers who raided Lebedev’s home were investigating a possible violation of a controversial Russian law that makes it a criminal offense to “insult the feelings of religious believers.” Approved by President Vladimir Putin in …