Jehovah's Witness faces longest prison term


OVDInfo. 16 April 2021


A sentence of 7.5 years in a penal colony of ordinary regime was left in force for 63-year-old Jehovah's Witness Alexander Ivshin. OVDInfo was told this in the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses.


The decision was issued by the Krasnodar territorial court on 15 April. Ivshin was found guilty of arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1, article 282.2 CC). The believer does not acknowledge guilt and intends to appeal the verdict in a cassation court.


According to the investigation's account, he arranged the conduct of worship services in Abinsk by video link, with the group singing of biblical songs.


"The punishment ordered is the harshest of all those that have been given to Jehovah's Witnesses," his fellow believers declared. They also emphasized that there is not a single victim in the case. The believers report that the court ordered that the defendant's Bible be destroyed.


The Association called attention to the testimony of a witness for the prosecution, who wrote an accusation against Ivshin for the F.S.B. During the hearing of the case in court, he admitted that he was not acquainted with the defendant personally, but had merely seen him from a distance.


"The fact that Alexander is the leader of the local religious organization is only his supposition. Other evidence of Ivshin's "guilt" were audiotapes of prayers and a group photograph with fellow believers," the Association related.


The court of the first instance issued a verdict to the Jehovah's Witness in February and he was taken into custody in the courtroom. From that time, fellow believers report, Ivshin was transferred five times and in one of the SIZOs he became severely ill with the coronavirus.


In April 2020, searches were conducted in nine homes of believers, including that of Alexander Ivshin, in the villages of Kholmskaya and Pavlovskaya.


During the search, both he and his wife suffered a hypertension crisis. Since that time the believer has been under his own recognizance. The case was submitted to the court in December 2020. Judge Alexander Kholoshin considered it in four sessions.


Another two residents from Kholmskaya, believers Oleg Danilov and Alexander Shcherbin, were sentenced to three years in prison.


On 6 April 2021 "International Memorial" conducted a round table devoted to the 70th anniversary of the exile of Jehovah's Witnesses to Siberia. It was addressed by Sergei Davidis, a member of the council of the Memorial rights center and the director of the "Support for Political Prisoners" program. He emphasized that the only substantive basis for the decision was the "declaration of the religious superiority of Jehovah's Witnesses over other religious groups."


"It is completely obvious that this is an absurd accusation. The conviction of the rightness of one's religious belief in comparison with other beliefs is natural for any religion," the rights activist noted. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 April 2021)

Background articles:
New level of punishment of Jehovah's Witnesses reached
February 10, 2021
New wave of persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses
February 16, 2021

Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,