Substantial prison term imposed on Jehovah's Witness


by Olga Tarabanova

Nash Dom Novosibirsk, 16 December 2020


The Lenin district court of Novosibirsk issued a verdict on Yury Saveliev, the head of the local Jehovah's Witnesses, who was arrested two years ago on a charge of arranging the activity of an extremist organization. He has remained in the SIZO since then.


As the press service of the court reported earlier, Saveliev and 15 of his supporters registered the Jehovah's Witnesses in the capital of Siberia in the late 1990s. After that, and until the time of his arrest, the convict conducted, with his associates, religious worship services, received new devotees, and collected donations.


In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled the Jehovah's Witnesses organization and all its divisions to be extremist and their activity on Russian territory was prohibited. However the Novosiberian ignored the letter of the law, for which a criminal case was opened on him based on part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the R.F.


"Yu.P. Saveliev was found guilty of committing the aforesaid crime and he was sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six years, which is to be served in a penal colony of ordinary regime plus deprivation of the right to occupy a leadership post for a period of three years," the Lenin district court said.


The verdict has still not taken legal effect. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 December 2020)



Sibir.Realii, 16 December 2020


A court in Novosibirsk sentenced 66-year-old local resident Yury Saveliev to six years imprisonment. He was found guilty of arranging the activity of an extremist organization because he was an adherent of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious organization. While the investigation was going on, the believer spent two years in a SIZO. The sentence still has not come into legal effect.


The term of maintenance of Saveliev in custody was extended nine times. Despite the fact that a cassation court in Novosibirsk ruled that extending his detention was illegal, the district court refused to mitigate the measure of restriction. At the world headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses the new court decision was declared to be "absurd."


"This also violates international standards in the area of human rights and therefore the European Union, Great Britain, the U.S.A., and the United Nations have often called Russia to cease the systematic persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses," the press secretary of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Jarrod Lopes, told Sibir.Realii.


He also noted that Russian authorities are continuing the persecution of believers. According to his information, this year personnel of various agencies have conducted more than 440 searches in homes of adherents of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the country, despite the coronavirus pandemic.


Saveliev was arrested and put in a SIZO in November 2018. Investigators explained that in 1999, he and another 17 residents filed an application in the Ministry of Justice for registration of a religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2017, the Supreme Court liquidated this organization, along with 395 others. Surveillance was established at Saveliev's apartment in August 2018. A criminal case was opened on 7 November 2018 based on the article "arranging the activity of an extremist organization."


On 9 December, the prosecutor requested eight years imprisonment for Saveliev. That is the longest term that has been requested for Jehovah's Witnesses in modern Russia. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 December 2020)

Background article:
Jehovah's Witness has spent more than two years in prison without trial
December 10, 2020

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