Two more arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses


A man and woman may be put behind bars because of conversation about faith on the street

Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 9 October 2019


On 2 October 2019 two criminal cases against peaceful citizens were opened in Krasnoyarsk. According to the account of the investigation, Sergei Tolstonozhenko and Tatiana Feruleva conducted "illegal activity of Jehovah's Witnesses." This is how law enforcers interpreted a simple conversation at a bus stop.


Both cases were opened by a senior investigator, Justice Major R.I. Kurbanov, on the basis of part 1.1 of article 282.2 of the CC RF. In the order about opening the criminal case it is noted that both persons "conducted activities of an organizational nature aimed at the continuation of illegal activity of the Jehovah's Witnesses," which was expressed in "attracting new members" and "distributing extremist literature and software among members of the organization."


During interrogation, it was suggested to Tatiana Feruleva that she make a so-called deal with justice: admit her guilt of the "crime" and implicate others of its "participants."


At the present time, in Krasnoyarsk territory investigations are already being conducted for five believers. Anton Ostapenko is still held in custody in SIZO No. 3 of the city of Achinsk. The case of Andrei Stupnikov has dragged on since 3 July 2018.


Jehovah's Witnesses do not have anything in common with extremism. Article 28 of the Russian constitution permits "freely to choose, hold, and disseminate religious and other convictions and to act in accordance with them." Prosecution of law-abiding believers for conversations about religion is a horrendous error by law enforcement agencies, which diverts them from the struggle with real crime. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 October 2019)

Background article:
Siberian Jehovah's Witnesses harassed by officials
July 15, 2019

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