NEW CRIMINAL CASE FOR FAITH IN KABARDINO-BALKARIA
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 23 August 2017
In August 2017 it became known that in the village of Maiskii (Kabardino-Balkaria) the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against 54-year-old local resident Yury Zalipaev on the basis of part 1 of article 282 of the Criminal Code of the RF (inciting hatred or strife). The believer faces up to 5 years of incarceration.
From the order about opening the criminal case, signed by senior investigator A. Kodzokovy it follows that in 2016 Yury Zalipaev allegedly distributed three copies of the magazine Awake! for August 2009 with the title "Discrimination and prejudice: the root and the resolution of the problem."
Actually, in 2016 the believer unsuccessfully tried to prove to the Maiskii district court of Kabardino-Balkaria that these copies of the magazine Awake! were planted on him in the house of worship. During a worship service in the building, the lighting went out and more than 20 personnel of law enforcement agencies, led by an F.S.B. officer, burst in without explanation. Under threat of the use of force, some of the believers were blocked in the room, from whom electronic devices were taken. In the darkness, law enforcement personnel began a search of the premises. When the lighting was turned on, the police showed the believers the publications, which were included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials, that were lying on a bench next to an officer in a camouflage uniform. Despite the fact that videotapes were carefully confiscated from the believers, they managed to keep a video showing that before the start of the search there were no publications on the bench. However in November 2016 a court in Maiskii treated these videos critically and imposed on the congregation a fine of 200,000 rubles. Less than a year later, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against one of the believers, Yury Zalipaev.
Yury Viktorovich Zalipaev is a respected head of family, husband, and father, who has been known for a space of 25 years as a respectable believing person.
The magazine Awake!, of whose distribution Yury Zalipaev has been falsely accused, was included in 2010 in the Federal List of Extremist Materials under number 757 on the basis of the decision of a district court in the city of Kemerovo, which considered the article "Bible's Point of View: Should believers be divided into clergy and laity?"
This is now the second similar case in the republic. In Prokhladnenskoe district court of Kabardino-Balkaria a case was heard on the accusation of 69-year-old Jehovah's Witness Arkady Akopian. According to the indictment, Arkady Akopovich Akopian delivered a speech in which he allegedly demeaned the dignity of persons of other religions and instructed the audience to distribute forbidden literature. The accusation against him was based on part 1 of article 282 of the Criminal Code of the RF. Earlier Arkady Akopian sent to the Investigative Committee of Russia a request to hold accountable persons who gave deliberately false testimony that constituted the basis of the accusation. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 August 2017)
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