Judge says prosecution did not prove case against Jehovah's Witness


OVD-Info, 29 September 2020


The Pervorechensk district court of Vladivostok ordered the return to the prosecutor's office of the case of Jehovah's Witness Elena Barmakina, accused of participation in the activity of an extremist organization (part 2, article 282.2 C.C.). This is reported on the website of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


During the debates in the case, the prosecutor requested that Barmakina be sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence.


In its order to return the case, the court pointed out that "from the text of the indictment it is not possible to establish the extremist tendency of the action of the defendant during her liturgical activity: reading and discussing texts from the Bible . . . , participating in singing religious songs and  prayers, and viewing a video of sermons, since freedom of religious confession is a constitutional right." In addition, from the materials of the case, the court cannot draw a conclusion about where, when, and how Barmakina, in the opinion of the prosecution, committed a crime.


As indicated on the website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, the case against Elena Barmakina was opened in August 2019. The measure for her pretrial restricted appointed for her was release on her own recognizance. The believer was charged with participating in an extremist organization (part 2, article 282.2 of C.C.). In July 2020, six witnesses in her case were placed on a "Rosfinmonitoring list" and then criminal cases were opened against them and they were charged on the basis of the extremism articles.


A case in connection with participating in the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses also was opened against Barmakina's husband, Dmitry. He is charged with arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1, article 282.2 C.C.). Since late July 2018, he had been in custody; on 18 October 2019 the measure of prevention was changed to a ban on certain activities. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 September 2020)


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