JEHOVAH'S WITNESS GALINA PARKOVA RECEIVES SUSPENDED SENTENCE
Kavkazskii Uzel, 26 January 2021
A court in Rostov-on-Don ruled that the Jehovah's Witness Galina Parkova is a member of an extremist organization and sentenced her to a suspended sentence of two years and three months imprisonment. The believer refused to admit herself to be guilty.
As Kavkazskii Uzel has reported, the Jehovah's Witness from Rostov-on-Don Galina Parkova did not agree with the accusation presented during the first session of the case that she participated in the activity of an extremist organization, and she regarded it as without basis. Members of the congregation of believers declared in court that Parkova did not encourage anybody to commit violence and extremist actions. On 19 January 2021, the prosecutor requested imposing a three-year suspended sentence for the defendant. In her final address the defendant asked the court to acquit her and she also criticized the arguments of the investigation and stated that she was being tried for her faith.
The announcement of the verdict for Galina Parkova occurred on 26 January in the Lenin district court of Rostov-on-Don. Two persons arrived to support her. The judge concluded that the guilt of the defendant "does not evoke doubts," and Parkova's actions "were correctly qualified in accordance with part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the RF ("Participation in the activity of an extremist organization"), a Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent who was present in the session reported.
The court agreed with the account of the prosecution according to which Parkova "from 13 July 2018 to 20 May 2019 deliberately and consciously participated in the activity of the Rostov-on-Don Jehovah's Witnesses Central religious organization, using precautionary measures and maintaining the principle of secrecy. The materials of the case show that the participation of the defendant was expressed, "among other things, by means of conducting conversations for the purposes of propaganda and participation in events." The judge also cited in detail the dates, with hours and minutes, when Parkova, according to the prosecution's account, "took part in video conferences on the internet, during which the book 'Sacred Scripture—New World Translation' was studied, which is included in the list of extremist materials at No. 4488," the Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent related.
Parkova's guilt "is confirmed by the tetimony of specialists and witnesses," in particular a secret witness under the pseudonym "Andrei," who identified Parkova as the spouse of Alexander Parkov. The witness described how he saw an advertisement on the street for items made of metal and he called the indicated number. After meeting with him, Parkov showed the items, "and said that it will be better in the world," and he gave him the book "Sacred Scripture—New World Translation," and he also said that "the Russian Orthodox Church is the mafia, living off parishioners' money, and the [religious organization] of Jehovah's Witnesses was forbidden in Russia by a court decision at the personal request of the patriarch," the court's verdict says,
Court concluded that the evidence of the defense witnesses was unreliable.
At the same time, the testimonies of Galina Parkova's fellow believers—Bakulinaya and Okhrimchuk—were considered by the judge to be "unreliable, inasmuch as they adhere to the same faith as the defendant, and they intended to help in avoiding criminal accountability." The reports of a search in the apartment of Parkova and her spouse were ruled legal. As mitigating circumstances, the court cited the fact that Parkova was being brought to justice for the first time, she was not a client of a drug counselor and psychiatrist, and she had positive character references from the neighborhood, acquaintances, and workplace; there were no aggravating circumstances, the Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent reported.
Parkova was ruled to be guilty and, "considering the nature and degree of public danger of the crime," the judge imposed on her a two year and three month suspended prison term with an equal probationary period. According to the sentence, during this time she is required "to check in periodically with the specialized government agency for registration," and also she is prohibited to change her place of residence or employment without the consent of the supervisory agencies. Until the verdict takes effect, she will be under a signed promise not to leave, the Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent relates.
In addition, the judge explained to Parkova that after the verdict takes effect, she will be registered with the criminal executive inspection at her place of residence. In the event of her evasion of check-ups, the suspended sentence may be cancelled or lengthened.
Defendant has decided to appeal the court's decision..
Galina Parkova declared that she considers herself innocent and she intends to appeal today's court decision. "The criminal case against me does not have any legal basis and it simply does not accord with logic and common sense. I have conscientiously obeyed the laws of my country, I have respected the authorities and people around me. I think that they have placed on me the stigma of an extremist without evidence and they have dragged my good name through the mud," she said to the Kavkazskii Uzel correspondent.
She declared that the verdict will not scare her away from the faith and she recalled that because of the entry of her name into the monitoring list, her bank card has been blocked and therefore she "is forced to get by with temporary jobs."
Parkova's attorney, Tatiana Krasnikova, stated that she intends to file the appeal. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 January 2021)
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