Six Jehovah's Witnesses face trial in Sverdlovsk region



The Sverdlovsk oblast court overturned the sentences for three Jehovah's Witnesses (an organization ruled to be extremist and forbidden in R.F.) from Karpinsk and sent back their criminal case for a new consideration in the Karpinsk city court. was told about this by one of the participants in the case, Alexander Prianikov, who added that they still do not know why the court overturned the sentence, since the reasoning portion of the decision has still not been prepared.


According to Prianikov's information, the appellate complaint points out that the court incorrectly applied article 282.2 of the CC RF ("participation in the activity of a religious organization that has been banned by a court because of conduct of extremist activity") since neither he himself nor the other defendants were members of the legal entity of Jehovah's Witnesses. Prianikov also reported that his conversations "on biblical topics" were not intended to encourage extremist actions.


The subject of the case also said that the court made a procedural error by closing the session to observers, although the petition for conducting the session in open court had been granted.


"The court did not take into account that the Russian Supreme Court did not prohibit the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and "did not assess the legality of the religious convictions of Jehovah's Witnesses and the manner of their expression." Despite the liquidation of legal entities [juridical persons], I have the right, as before, to freely profess the religion I have selected, including reading the Bible and discussing it with others," the appeal says.


We recall that in early 2020, the Karpinsk city court found Alexander Prianikov, Venera Dulova, and her daughter Daria Dulova guilty of the crime based on part 2 of article 282.2 of the CC RF ("participation in the activity of a religious organization that has been banned by a court because of conduct of extremist activity"). Prianikov was sentenced to 2.6 years of incarceration, suspended, with a term of probation of 2 years, Venera Dulova was sentenced to 2 years, suspended, with a term of probation of 2 years, and Daria was sentenced to one year of prison, suspended, with a term of probation of one year. The number of subjects of a second case of Jehovah's Witnesses from Karpinsk was increased to six.


As stated in the materials of the case, the man and the mother and daughter preached their doctrine among residents of the city, promoted the "ideas of the superiority of some groups of people over others," and "incited religious strife." Investigators conclude that the defendants disseminated information in the city with printed materials and reproduced video and audio materials about the Jehovah's Witnesses,"wishing to exert psychological influence upon society with the aim of promoting ideas of the superiority of some groups of people over others, inciting religious strife, and promoting exclusivity."


The criminal case against them was opened after they visited the home of criminal investigator OP No. 32, who contacted the police after their visit.


Now Prianikov and the Dulovas are subjects in yet another case about the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses. In early 2020, S.K.R. investigators opened a criminal case against them based on part 1.1 of article 282.2 of the CC RF ("Recruitment into an extremist organization"). Searches were conducted in the believers' home on 30 March and agents seized literature and technology. It was later learned that investigators interrogated Pranikov's wife, Anastasia, and also Svetlana and Ruslan Zaliaev. They were suspected of activity of a forbidden religious organization (based on part 2 of article 282.2 of CC RF).


The press service of the investigation department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for Sverdlovsk oblast stated that they will not comment on the course of the investigation of the new case. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 August 2020)

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