Kirov Jehovah's Witnesses lose court appeal


by Liza Okhaizina, 13 June 2019


A Kirov oblast court refused to mitigate the measure of restriction for three Jehovah's Witnesses, Vladimir Korobeinikov, Evgenia Suvorokova, and Andrei Suvorokov. The defendants had asked the court to replace house arrest with a signed pledge not to depart or a prohibition of certain actions.


They based their appeal on the fact that while under house arrest it is difficult to go to treatment institutions and to care for elderly relatives, and it is impossible to work and support a family, a correspondent reported on 13 June. Judge Oleg Guberman dismissed the appeal without satisfaction. Yet another subject of the criminal case, Maksim Khalturin, also was left under house arrest, and another, Polish citizen Andrzej Oniszczuk, has been in a Kirov SIZO for eight months now.


All of the Viatka Witnesses are accused of creating and participating in an extremist religious organization and reading "forbidden literature." They are threatened with imprisonment for a term of up to six years.


We recall that originally a number of publications of Jehovah's Witnesses were ruled to be extremist, and in April 2017 the Russian Supreme Court ruled that the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and its 395 local organizations were extremist, although Vladimir Putin responded to a question put to him that faith cannot be forbidden.


Meanwhile more than 200 Jehovah's Witnesses have been subjected to prosecution for religious convictions recently and more than 30 are being held in custody and 25 are under house arrest, with almost 100 having given a written pledge not to depart, 14 having been issued prohibition on certain actions, and two are wanted. One of the Witnesses, the Dane Dennis Christenson, was sentenced in Orel to six years in a penal colony. "Memorial" and other rights advocacy organizations have recognized that Christensen and other detained Jehovah's Witnesses are political prisoners. (tr. by PDS, posted 14 June 2019)

Background articles:

Moscow news service highlights improbable accusation against Jehovah's Witnesses

October 9, 2018
New searches and arrests in Kirov
March 26, 2019

Pretrial restrictions of Jehovah's Witnesses comparatively long in Kirov
April 2, 2019

Russia Religion News Current News Items

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