Jehovah's Witnesses avoid threatened pretrial imprisonment


Interfax-Religiia, 26 November 2020


The Presnya court of Moscow on Thursday refused to jail four detained supporters of the Jehovah's Witnesses movement (considered in the R.F. to be an extremist organization and prohibited).


"The court declined to grant the petition of the investigator concerning the choice of measures of restriction in the form of detention in custody with respect to Sergei Grigorievich Shatalov. A measure of restriction was selected for him in the form of house arrest for a period up to 23 January," the press secretary of the court, Lela Kokaia, told Interfax.


She said that with respect to Ivan Stepanovich Chaikovsky, Vitaly Viktorovich Komarov, and Yury Ivgenievich Chernyshev the court extended the term of detention until 27 November.


All four were charged under part 1 of article 282.2 of the CC RF (arranging the activity of a public or religious association, with respect to which a court has made a decision for liquidation or prohibition of activity because of conducting extremist activity). According to information of the prosecution, the punishment foreseen is either a fine of from 400 to 800 rubles or incarceration for a term of from six to ten years.


Earlier, the directorate of the Investigation Committee for Moscow reported the arrest of a number of leaders of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


According to the investigation's account, in the period from June 2019 to the present, a group of persons, who were aware that a decision of the Supreme Court had taken legal effect, "arranged in the area of northeastern Moscow the work of a religious subdivision of the aforesaid organization."


"Conspiratorial assemblies occurred in one of the apartments located on Cheliuskin Street, where adherents studied religious literature and information contained in other sources of information that promoted the teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and they conducted other activity characteristic for this association," a representative of the capital's Investigative Committee, Julia Ivanova, said.


She also said that it had been established that members of the subdivision persuaded and recruited new members from among residents of the capital and other regions for participation in the forbidden religious movement.


According to information of the Public Oversight Commission, the detainees do not acknowledge their guilt. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 November 2020)



Novaia Gazeta, 26 November 2020


The Presnya court of Moscow refused to send to the SIZO [pretrial detention cell—tr.] a follower of the religious organization of Jehovah Witnesses (ruled to be extremist and forbidden in Russia), Sergei Shatalov. Novaia Gazeta was told this in the court's press service.


"The Presnya district court of the city of Moscow refused to satisfy the petition of the investigator regarding choice of the measure of restriction in the form of detention in custody with respect to the accused," the press service clarified.

Shatalov, who became a defendant in a case regarding arranging the activity of an extremist association (part 1 of article 282.2 of CC), was placed under house arrest. It will last until 23 January.


Two days ago, agents of the Investigative Committee arrested leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses center and conducted searches in more than 20 Russian regions. Operational activities were conducted within the framework of a criminal case regarding creation of an extremist organizations and recruitment for and participation in such an organization (parts 1, 1.1, and 2 of article 282.2 of the CC), which was opened "because of the revival of the work of the Administrative Center."


Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses believers began in 2017 after the decision of the Supreme Court ruling this organization to be extremist. Since then, criminal cases have been regularly opened against its adherents and searches have been conducted regularly in their homes. Several have received real time prison terms. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 November 2020)



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