Half dozen Jehovah's Witnesses confined while awaiting trial in Smolensk


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 19 August 2019


On 14 August 2019, Smolensk resident Ruslan Korolev was released from a SIZO [pretrial investigation cell], where he had spent almost four months. Now the believer will be under house arrest, although another three men and two women still remain in confinement in a Smolensk SIZO.


The 37-year-old Ruslan Korolev was placed under arrest on 25 April 2019 along with another two citizens. Before this, in accordance with the usually scenario, searches were conducted in homes of believers, and security forces took the believers themselves for interrogation to the investigation department of the FSB, from which they did not leave but were placed behind bars.


Several days later, a fourth suspect in this criminal case, Evgeny Deshko, was arrested in Dagomys of Krasnodar territory. All these peaceful citizens are accused of "extremist activity." The case is being investigated by the department of the Russian FSB for Smolensk oblast.


There also are two women held in a Smolesk SIZO on similar charges: Tatyana Galkevich and Valentina Vladimirova, both of retirement age. And before them, Maria Troshina and Natalia Sorokina spent more than six months behind bars.


Peaceful believers throughout the country continue to face criminal prosecution and real prison terms. This is happening despite protests of such international organizations as the Foreign Policy Service of the European Union, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. In Russia itself, the absurdity of charges against Jehovah's Witnesses has been recognized by public figures and even Russian President Vladimir Putin. The government of Russia has frequently declared that the decisions of Russian courts for liquidation and prohibition of Jehovah's Witnesses organizations "do not give an assessment of the religious teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses and do not contain restriction or prohibition of professing the aforesaid teaching individually." (tr. by PDS, posted 19 August 2019)

Background articles:
Two more women sent to SIZO for faith in Smolensk
May 22, 2019
Actions against Jehovah's Witnesses in Smolensk
May 2, 2019

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