Seven Jehovah’s Witnesses in Griazi are defendants


by Sasha Belyi

Moskvichi, 19 July 2021


On 15 July, a Griazi city court of Lipetsk oblast transferred to house arrest the Jehovah’s Witnesses Sergei Kretov and Evgeny Reshetnikov, who had been in pre-trial detention for 241 days. This was reported by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia website.


They will be under house arrest until 15 September. In addition, they are permitted a daily walk for a period of one hour. Valery Khmil, who also is a subject in the same case, was placed under house arrest until October and he is permitted a walk of up to two hours per day.


In all, in the city of Griazi of Lipetsk district, there are seven defendants in a criminal case regarding participation in meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. After searches in November 2020, Sergei Kretov and Evgeny Reshetnikov were charged with arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1 of article 282.2 of the CC RF) and they were placed in detention. The retirees Natalia Perekaty, Tatiana Marlang, and also Svetlana Vyrezkova were charged with participating in the activity of said organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of CC RF).


In June 2021, security personnel arrested another two believers, but the court refused to send them to the SIZO (pretrial investigation cell—tr.). As a result, Valery Khmil was placed under house arrest and Alexander Popras was released without any restrictions.


According to materials of the case, the believers are charged with “deliberate actions from extremist motives, expressed in propaganda of the superiority of members of the religious teaching of Jehovah’s Witnesses over other people, a negative estimate of persons who do not profess this religious affiliation,” and teaching . . . , perpetuating, and spreading the ideology and faith of this extremist organization among residents of the city of Griazi of Lipetsk oblast.” (tr. by PDS, posted 20 July 2021)

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