Jehovah's Witness in Russian-occupied Crimea given long prison term


Interfax-Religiia, 29 March 2021


The Gagarin district court of Sevastopol on Monday sentenced a local resident to 6.5 years of incarceration, having found him guilty of creating a cell of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, which is forbidden in Russia, the press service of the court reported.


"The director of the religious group was sentenced to 6.5 years in a penal colony of ordinary regime, and after his release from there he will be forbidden to engage in educational activity, activity connected with statements and publications in news media, and posting materials in news communications networks, including the web of the internet, in the course of seven years," the report says.


The court did not indicate the name of the convict. According to information from Interfax's informed source, the reference is to 54-year-old Viktor Stashevsky.


The man was found guilty on the basis of part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the R.F. (arranging the activity of an extremist organization). During the debates last week, the state prosecutor demanded seven years of imprisonment for the Sevastopolitan.


The sentence has still not taken legal effect and it may be appealed within ten days.


As was reported, FSB personnel conducted searches in homes of Jehovists in June 2019. Stashevsky has been free on his own recognizance.


In April 2017, on the basis of a lawsuit by the Russian Ministry of Justice, the Russian Supreme court ruled the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization and banned their activity on the territory of the state. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 March 2021)

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