Jehovah's Witness has spent more than two years in prison without trial


Sibir.Realii, 10 December 2020


In Lenin district court of Novosibirsk, the prosecutor requested eight years imprisonment for a 66-year-old adherent of Jehovah's Witnesses, Yury Saveliev. The defendant has already been in a pretrial investigation cell more than two years, the website of the religious movement reports.


A criminal case against Saveliev was opened on 7 November 2018 on the basis of the article "arranging the activity of an extremist organization". "The evidence in the case is the word of a secret witness, which was received even without questioning in court and without the believer having the possibility of cross examining this witness," the website says.


On 15 September, Saveliev's lawyer filed a petition for changing the measure of restriction from the SIZO to a more lenient one on the basis of a decision by a cassation court, which ruled that the extension of the believer's detention had been illegal. Despite this, Judge Ekaterina Kashina of the Lenin district court refused to mitigate the measure of restriction.


On 16 September 2020, during the proceedings the judge issued a personal order against the prosecutor because of the abuse of procedural rules and delay in the consideration of the case. On 9 December, the prosecutor requested 8 years imprisonment for Saveliev. This is the longest prison term that has been requested for Jehovah's Witnesses in modern Russia.


In August 2018 surveillance of Saveliev's apartment was set up. The retiree was arrested and placed in the SIZO in November 2018. A search was conducted in his apartment. The investigators explained that in 1999, he and another 17 residents submitted to the Ministry of Justice an application for registration of a religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2017, the Supreme Court liquidated this organization along with 395 others. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2020)

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