Moscow court sends Jehovah's Witnesses prisoner home


Interfax-Religiia, 30 November 2020


The Presnya court of Moscow on Monday would not detain in custody a fifth arrested adherent of the Jehovah's Witnesses movement (which is forbidden in the R.F.).


"The court refused to grant the petition of the investigation regarding the selection of a measure of restriction in the form of detention of the defendant in custody. The measure of restriction selected for Vardan Pegatosovich Zakarian was house arrest for a period until 23 January," the court's press secretary, Lela Kokaia, told Interfax.


Zakarian is charged on the basis of part 1.1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the R.F. (persuasion, recruitment, or other involvement of a person in the activity of an extremist organization).


Earlier the court refused detention for another four detainees. A measure of restriction in the form of house arrest until 23 January was selected for Ivan Chaikovsky, Vitaly Komarov, Yury Chernyshev, and Sergei Shatalov.


They all are charged under part 1 of article 282.2 of 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 conduct of extremist activity). The punishment for this charge provides for huge fines or imprisonment for a term up to ten years.


Earlier the directorate of the S.K.R. [Investigative Committee of Russia] 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 the decision of the Supreme Court had taken legal effect, organized in northeastern Moscow the work of a local religious subdivision of the aforementioned 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 S.K.R., Julia Ivanova, said.


She said that it had been determined that members of the subdivision persuaded and recruited new members from among residents of the capital and other component elements of the federation for participation in a forbidden religious movement.


The detainees do not acknowledge their guilt. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 November 2020)

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