Nineteen Jehovah's Witnesses on trial in Birobidzhan region


OVD-Info, 21 January 2021


Verdicts were announced for Jehovah's Witnesses Evgeny Golik and Anastasia Sycheva in the Jewish autonomous oblast. This was reported to OVD-Info by the press service of the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses.


District courts found both believers guilty under the article about participating in the activity of an extremist organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code). A Birobidzhan court imposed a suspended sentence of two and a half years of prison on Golik, with a probationary period of three years and a year of restricted liberty. The prosecutor had asked for four years imprisonment in a penal colony of ordinary regime for him.


Evgeny Golik did not admit guilt. "I oppose extremism, violence, and cruelty. I have never experienced hatred for people and I do not encourage anybody to do so. All of my actions were documented in a video. I studied the Bible with fellow believers and this was not forbidden by the Russian Supreme Court," he said in his final statement.


The Obluche court imposed a suspended sentence of two years on Anastasia Sycheva, with two years of probation and six months of restricted liberty. That was the sentence that the prosecutor suggested for her.


Sycheva also did not agree with the accusation. She explained that she merely participated in religious services and fellowshipped with other Jehovah's Witnesses. "What kind of extremism are you talking about? I do not understand," the believer noted.


In all, 19 criminal cases have been opened against believers in the Jewish autonomous oblast. The defendants are the following: Evgeny Golik, Anastasia Sycheva, Alam Aliev, Sergei Shuliarenko, Dmitry Zagulin and Valery Kriger and their spouses Natalia Kriger and Tatiana Zagulina, Artur Lokhvitsky and his mother Irina Lokhvitskaya and wife Anna Lokhvitskaya, the married couple Konstantin and Anastasia Guzev, Evgeny Egorov, Igor Tsarev, Larisa Artamonova, Svetlana Monis, Elena Reino-Chernyshova, Yulia Kaganovich, Tatiana Sholner, Andrei Gubin, and Oleg Postnikov.


Aliev is charged with arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1 of article 282.2 of the CC), Zagulina is charged with financing it (part 1 of article 282.3 of the CC), and Kriger and Shuliarenko are charged on both of these articles The rest are charged under the article about participating in the activity of an extremist organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of the CC). According to the account of the investigation, they committed deliberate actions connected with reviving and continuing the activity of a forbidden local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 January 2021)

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