New level of punishment of Jehovah's Witnesses reached


Most severe sentence issued against organization at present time

by Aleksei Belianin

Kommersant, 10 February 2021


The Abinsk district court of Krasnodar territory issued a sentence to a 63-year-old member of the Jehovah's Witnesses (banned in Russia), Alexander Ivshin, who is accused of extremist activity. This is reported by Mediazona.


According to the account of the investigation, Ivshin conducted "worship services by video link with collective singing of biblical songs." In April 2020, a search was conducted in the home of the representative of the religious organization. Then a criminal case was opened against him on the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the R.F. (arranging the activity of a public or religious association that had been liquidated or prohibited because of conducting extremist activity). In the meantime, the defendant has been under a signed pledge not to flee. In December 2020, the materials of the case were delivered to the court.


The publication reports that Alexander Ivshin does not admit his guilt. The state prosecutor asked for his punishment to be eight years of imprisonment, but the court shortened this term by six months, to 7.5 years. Representatives of the Jehovah's Witnesses told Mediazona that this is the harshest sentence issued against the organization at the present time.


As Kommersant-Kuban reported, in May 2020 the investigation department of the Directorate of the Federal Security Service (F.S.B.) for the territory opened a criminal case against members of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Agents maintained that members of this organization in two districts of Kuban engaged in propaganda and missionary activity in "home" groups and also enticed other persons into illegal activity. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 February 2021)

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