Year-old criminal case against Jehovah's Witnesses drags on


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 9 May 2019


On 8 May 2019, in Omsk, searches were conducted in approximately five homes of citizens whom law enforcement personnel consider to be Jehovah's Witnesses. Yesterday's raid was sanctioned by Oksana Voltornist, judge of the Kuibyshev district court of Omsk. The searches were conducted within the context of a criminal case against the Poliakov married couple.


The investigator brought to the court a list of people who, according to information of the Investigative Committee, had previously been members of the "Omsk, Kazakhskoe" congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. The court was not interested in the question of whether "Omsk, Kazakhskoe" had anything to do with an organization that had been prohibited by a court. The very existence of the list was considered by Judge Voltornist to be sufficient grounds to turn the life of citizens who were guilty of nothing into a nightmare, by sanctioning searches in their homes.


For example, a group of eight persons, some in masks, broke into one of the homes. During the search, the investigator and operatives rummaged in closets, videotaped everything, demeaned the human dignity of citizens, and engaged in insulting comments about their faith. In at least one case, an agent of the investigation, in composing the charging document, did not permit the owner of the apartment to cross out the fields that were left blank.


After the searches, believers were taken for questioning to the investigator Denis Levchenko. This criminal case was opened in June 2018. The married couple Sergei and Anastasia Poliakov spent exactly five months in isolation cells. In subjecting the couple to such harsh treatment, law enforcement personnel forced them, in essence, to incriminate themselves and other people. In December 2018, the couple was transferred to house arrest, and their current measure of restriction is a signed promise not to depart. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 11 May 2019)

Background articles:

Jehovah's Witnesses' lawyer describes their case in Siberia
July 20, 2018

Russia Religion News Current News Items

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