TERMS UP TO 9 YEARS IN COLONY ASKED FOR THREE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FROM SMOLENSK
Mediazona, 23 March 2021
At a session in the Promyshlennyi district court of Smolensk, the prosecutor requested terms up to nine years in a prison colony for three Jehovah's Witnesses, Mediazona was told in the religious association.
The prosecution demanded the court sentence 31-year-old Evgeny Deshko and 38-year-old Ruslan Koroleva to nine years in a colony and 43-year-old Valery Shalev to eight years.
As the release says, the defendants have spent from four to eight months in a SIZO and several months more under house arrest.
A fourth defendant in this case, Viktor Malkov, died before the start of the court sessions. "While in the SIZO and under house arrest, he was unable to get the necessary treatment, without which his weak health did not survive," the organization noted.
According to the account of the investigation, the believers "arranged the activity of a forbidden organization;" they prayed together and also read and discussed the Bible, the report added. The investigation maintains that Shalev "conducted a screening of a video recording . . . and informed believers about questions of participating in congresses . . . and issues of organizing and conducting subsequent group gatherings."
In 2017 the Supreme Court ruled that the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is extremist and banned its activity on the territory of the country. Subsequently, more than 400 believers have been subjected to criminal prosecution. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 March 2021)
IN SMOLENSK PROSECUTION ASKS TERMS FROM 8 TO 9 YEARS IN PRISON COLONY FOR THREE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
Memorial Human Rights Center, 23 March 2021
Evgeny Deshko, Ruslan Korolev, and Valery Shalev were arrested back in April 2019. Originally they were in a SIZO and then under house arrest and later under their own recognizance. One other subject in the case, Viktor Malkov, died before the trial.
On 22 March, in the debates in the Promyshlennyi district court of Smolensk, a representative of the prosecution asked for three Jehovah's Witnesses—Ruslan Korolev, Valery Shalev, and Evgeny Deshko—terms from eight to nine years in a prison colony of ordinary regime on a charge of arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1 of article 282.2 of the CC RF). This is reported by Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.
It was asked that 31-year-old Evgeny Deshko and 38-year-old Ruslan Korolev be sentenced to nine years in the colony and 43-year-old Valery Shalev to eight years of medium security imprisonment.
We recall that it was learned in late April 2019 that a criminal case had been opened against a group of believers from Smolensk regarding arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1 of article 282.2 CC RF).
On 26 April 2019, the Lenin district court of Smolensk imprisoned three local believers—Ruslan Korolev, Valery Shalev, and Viktor Malkov. On 29 April 2019, Evgeny Deshko was arrested in Dagomys of Krasnodar territory and transported to Smolensk.
On 14 August 2019, Ruslan Korolev was transferred to house arrest. On 22 November 2019, the same measure of restriction was selected for Evgeny Deshko. Finally, on 20 and 21 December 2019, Viktor Malkov and Valery Shalev were placed under house arrest. On 26 April 2020, Viktor Malkov died.
In April 2017, the Russian Supreme Court ruled that the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia was an extremist organization and liquidated it. In August of the same year, all congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses were placed on the list of forbidden extremist organizations.
The Memorial Human Rights Center considers the imprisoned Jehovah's Witnesses to be political prisoners and it demands that the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses because of their religious affiliation be stopped. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 March 2021)
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