Woman Jehovah's Witness spends 14 months in prison without trial


Memorial Civil Rights Center, 18 December 2020


Alevtina Bagratian spent a year and two months in custody in a SIZO. Her husband, Artem, who is ill with diabetes, was left behind bars.


On 17 December, the Kursk oblast court mitigated the measure of restriction for Jehovah's Witness Alevtina Bagratian, but for another three believers—Andrei Andreev, Andrei Ryshkov, and her husband, Artem Bagratian—the measure of restriction was left without change. This was reported by the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.


Alevtina Bagratian was released from the CIZO and placed under house arrest. The other believers were left behind bars.


A criminal case based on parts 1 and 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF (arranging the activity of an extremist organization and participating in it) was opened against the Jehovah's Witnesses from Kursk on 12 September 2019. On 16 October 2019, Andren Andreev, Artem Bagratian and his wife, Alevtina Bagratian, were arrested, and then they were placed in pretrial detention. On 21 January 2020, Andrei Ryshkov was arrested, and then he also was placed in custody by the court. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 18 December 2020)


Background article:


Kursk46, 6 May 2020


The period in a SIZO was extended for members of the Kursk division of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect. The Lenin district court ordered to extend the detention of Artem Bagratian until 11 July. The man is charged with arranging the activity of an extremist organization and membership in it. Bagratian's wife, Alevtina, and also Andrei Andreev and Andrei Ryshkov are involved in the case. They also are in the SIZO.


We recall that the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia was ruled to be an extremist organization by the Supreme Court on 20 April 2017. After that Jehovists were forbidden to continue their activity. Over the course of several years, arrests of members of the forbidden organization have been proceeding.


Searches were conducted in Kursk in October 2019. The first to be arrested was 43-year-old Andrei Andreev. He was charged on the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 (arranging the activity of an extremist organization).


"Andreev continued to exercise his organizational leadership responsibility, creating on the territory of the city conspiratorial meetings, preaching the ideas of said extremist organization, and conducting events for distributing extremist literature," the press service of the Lenin court of the city of Kursk reported.


At practically the same time, the 47-year-old Bagratian spouses wound up behind bars. According to the account of the investigation, they conducted "on the territory of the city of Kursk conversations for the study of preaching materials of the religious denomination of Jehovah's Witnesses with the new alleged adherents of the Kursk local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, promoting the superiority of these ideas over other religious teaching and also distributing materials of extremist contents."


Finally, on 21 January, after a search and interrogation, the 32-year-old Andrei Ryshkov was arrested and later these cases of all detainees were joined into one proceeding. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 December 2020)

Related article:
Sick Jehovah's Witness mistreated in prison
January 2, 2020

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