At long last, trials of four Jehovah's Witnesses begin in Russian south


Kavkazskii Uzel, 19 November 2020


Today a court in Rostov-on-Don extended simultaneously by six months the detention of Alexander Parkov, Vilen Avanesov, and Arsen Avanesov, who have already spent a year and a half in custody in a case concerning extremism.


As Kavkazskii Uzel has written, Alexander Parkov, Vilen Avanesov, and Arsen Avanesov were arrested on 22 May 2019. They were charged with arranging the activity of an extremist organization. The believers, including the elderly Vilen Avanesov, have more than once asked for a mitigation of the measure of restriction, but they have been turned down. Meanwhile, the first session of the trial on the merits of their case was held just today.


The Lenin district court of Rostov-on-Don agreed with the request of the state prosecutor to extend the term of detention in custody for Alexander Parkov, Arsen Avanesov, and Vilen Avanesov, Arsen Avanesov's lawyer, Andrei Kopylov, told a Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent.


"Today was the preliminary part of the hearing on the merits. Personal data was confirmed: all were asked where they live and where they worked. After this we moved to the phase of consideration of petitions. The state prosecutor filed a petition for selecting a measure of restriction in the form of detention in custody for a period of six months, until 2 May 2021. Defense attorneys opposed everything and the defendants also opposed and petitioned for house arrest and corresponding documents were presented. Vilen Avanesov, who will be 69 years old, noted that there now is in the country the coronavirus, and people older than 65 are subject to very great risk. However Judge Vladimir Khudaverdian granted the prosecution's petition in full," Arsen Avanesov's defense attorney explained.


The court plans that consideration of the case will continue on 3 December at 10.00 a.m. Petitions of the defense will be taken up and the indictment will be announced.


Investigators have also charged Alexander Parkov's wife, Galina Parkova, with extremism and the court began hearing her case on 18 November. (tr. by PDS, posted 20 November 2020)

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