COURT IN KIROV FREES THREE BELIEVERS AFTER LONG HOUSE ARREST
The criminal case is not closed
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 7 October 2019
On 30 September 2019, a court in the Pervomai district of the city of Kirov released from under house arrest Evgeny Suborkov, Vladimir Korobeinikov, and Maksim Khalturin. Before this, the believers spent from 6 to 9 months in isolation in their own homes.
Judge Aleksei Zhilin believed that there are no grounds to keep the believers under house arrest any longer; they will not be able to hinder proceedings in the criminal case. The court also rejected again the argument of the investigator that the accused "may continue to engage in criminal activity."
Earlier the court mitigated the measure of restriction for another two subjects of this criminal case. He released from house arrest Andrei Suvorkov and also freed from the SIZO Polish citizen Andzhei Onishchuk on his own recognizance.
The five Kirov believers were arrested on 9 October 2018 after widespread searches in the homes of peaceful residents, including even some who do not profess the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The investigation suspected them of "group singing of biblical songs, improving skills of conducting missionary activity, and study of religious literature, the so-called Sacred Scripture (Bible)." These charges were based on the "extremism" articles 282.2(1) and 283.2(1) of the Criminal Code of the RF, on the basis of which the peaceful residents of Kirov face from 6 to 10 years imprisonment.
The searches, detention, and criminal prosecution of profoundly traumatized the families of the believers. Some of their relatives are severely ill and require constant care.
As of the present, 12 residents of Kirov oblast are under investigation for faith in Jehovah. Kirov law enforcement continues to interpret the peaceful profession of faith, which is guaranteed by the Russian constitution, as a serious crime. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 October 2019)
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