SPOUSES GIVEN 15 YEARS SUSPENDED, AS SIMULTANEOUSLY BOTH ORGANIZERS AND MEMBERS OF CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Kasparov.ru, 12 October 2020
Judge Ivan Bogomolov of the Sverdlovsk district court of Kostroma sentenced Jehovah's Witnesses Sergei and Valeria Raiman to suspended sentences of 8 and 7 years respectively. This was more than the state prosecution asked for. The believer's crime was joint domestic discussion of the Bible. The sentence has not taken legal effect, the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses told Kasparov.ru on 12 October.
On the basis of the submission of the state prosecution, the court found the married couple guilty simultaneously of both organizing and participating in the activity of an extremist organization (parts 1 and 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF). The state prosecution asked the court to issue for them a punishment in the form of 7 years of incarceration, suspended, for each. The believers continue to insist on their complete innocence.
As lawyer Yaroslav Sivulsky from the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses noted: "The fact that the court simultaneously found the couple guilty on two mutually contradictory articles testifies to the complete incomprehension of the essence of the case."
In reality, Sergei and Valeria simply exercised their constitutional right to freedom of religious confession, "which has nothing to do with extremist activity." As Sergei Raiman said in his final word, for some reason the attempt to implement their religious convictions, which no court has forbidden, appears to be a crime from the point of view of the investigation. His wife, Valeria, noted that the prosecution on the part of the authorities has left an impact on their life and on their physical and emotional health. For more that two years now, the family has been living with continuous stress and alarm. And all of this on account of an unjust accusation of extremism.
began early in
the morning in July 2018: knocking out the door with a crow bar,
forces and television cameras. The young couple from Kostroma was
extremism merely for participating in worship services. For a year
and a half
of investigation, the couple survived the cramped, single cell of
a SIZO, and a
ban on correspondence and reading of the Bible because it
contained a map of
ancient Palestine, and electronic ankle monitoring, and
communication with "persons who profess the teaching of Jehovah"
even with one another. A year-long investigation led to such a
that the court returned the case to the prosecutor. It soon came
back to the
court and now has led to a verdict. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 October
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