Court unmoved by appeal of elderly Jehovah's Witness


Credo.Press, 6 April 2021


On 5 April, a Novosibirsk oblast court left unchanged the verdict of the Lenin district court of Novosibirsk regarding 67-year-old Jehovah's Witness Yury Saveliev. He was sentenced to 6 years in a penal colony of ordinary regime and now the sentence has taken legal effect, a correspondent of the portal Credo.Press reports, with reference to a source among the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses.


The prosecutor's office had asked for 8 years in a penal colony for the elderly believer, but on 16 December 2020, Judge Ekaterina Kashina of the Lenin district court gave him a prison term of two years less.


Yury Saveliev has been behind bars for more than two years already. He was in the SIZO immediately after raids on believers in Novosibirsk in November 2018 and his imprisonment was continually prolonged. In this time he received a total of about 14,000 letters from 82 countries of the world.


The accusation against Yury Saveliev was built on the conclusions of Oleg Zaev, a teacher of "sect studies" from the theological institute of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. In court he did not conceal his personal dislike for Jehovah's Witnesses because of their religion. Also figuring in the case was a secret witness for the prosecution using the pseudonym of "Ivanova," who did not appear in even one of the court sessions. Judge Kashina decided to read out her (his) written testimony in violation of the rights of the believer to a just judicial proceeding.


On 10 March, the eighth cassation court of general jurisdiction in Kemerovo ruled that Saveliev's imprisonment in the SIZO during the legal investigation, which lasted 413 days, was illegal.


Another three criminal cases against six Jehovah's Witnesses are being investigated in Novosibirsk oblast.


As is known, the Russian Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that all 396 Russian religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses were extremist and it liquidated them, after which there began in various regions of the country prosecutions of ordinary believers on criminal articles. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 April 2021)

Background articles:
Jehovah's Witness has spent more than two years in prison without trial
December 10, 2020
Substantial prison term imposed on Jehovah's Witness
December 16, 2020

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