Court sentences for mere membership in Jehovah's Witnesses congregation


Kavkazskii Uzel, 17 December 2020


A court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Jehovah's Witness Ruslan Alyev to a two years and six months suspended sentence, having found him to be a member of an extremist organization.


As Kavkazskii Uzel has reported, two Rostov Jehovah's Witnesses, Ruslan Alyev and Semen Baibak, were arrested on 10 June 2019 and since that time have been under house arrest. In September 2020, the court heard recordings of conversations of Ruslan Alyev with fellow believers that had been made by agents, and it also examined recordings of worship services. The believer's lawyers insisted in court that there was no extremism in the actions of the believers who assembled for a worship service. Alyev himself also declared to the court that there was no extremism in his activities. During the debates on 14 December the prosecution asked for a suspended sentence of three years for Alyev plus a year of restricted liberty, while the defense requested he be exonerated.


Investigators concluded that Ruslan Alyev is a member of a religious association with respect to which a court has made a decision for its liquidation or prohibition (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of Russia). Semen Baibak also was charged with participating in the activity of an extremist organization, but then a charge of financing an extremist organization was added to his case.


The Lenin district court of Rostov-on-Don today found Ruslan Alyev guilty of participating in the activity of an extremist organization and sentenced him to two years and six months, suspended, with a similar probationary term, the believer's wife, Kristina Alyeva, told a Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent.


The sanctions in part two of article 282.2 of the Russian Criminal Code provide for imprisonment for up to six years. Kavkazskii Uzel still does not have comments from the sides regarding the court's verdict in the Alyev case. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 December 2020)

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