Longer jail time asked for Jehovah's Witness in Siberia



The prosecutor's office requested seven years in a penal colony for Tomsk Jehovah's Witness Sergei Klimov. The investigation considers him the "arranger of the activity of an extremist organization," based on evidence of a secret witness. The defense insists that the believers talked about God in private meetings.


The state prosecutor Darina Kalinina spoke in the debates in the case of the Tomsk follower of Jehovah's Witnesses Sergei Klimov. She asked that he be given seven years in a penal colony of general regime, the attorney Artur Leontiev told


The prosecutor also petitioned the court that Klimov be prohibited from engaging in educational activity and publishing anything on the internet for eight years after serving his sentence. For a year and a half he will have to report to a penitentiary inspector and not leave his home at night. has related in detail the story of the prosecution of Sergei Klimov and other Jehovah's Witnesses in Siberia. The Tomsk believer is accused on the basis of part 1 of article 282 of the Criminal Code (arranging the activity of a religious association that has been liquidated by a court because of conducting extremist activity). The case is being considered by Judge Dmitry Borisov of the October district court of Tomsk.


Klimov was arrested in June 2018 in Tomsk. According to the account of the investigation, he "was the effective director" of the local "Northern—Tomsk" organization, one of the subdivisions of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, that was banned by the Supreme Court. Allegedly he gathered believers in the home of one of the members of the congregation and he conducted services there. The prosecution is based on testimony from a secret witness, who refused to answer most of the defense's questions in court.


The court refused a petition of the defense for declassifying the witness. Attorney Leontiev asked to summon him by a name known to the defense and the court agreed, but the witness did not appear at the session. The lawyer was refused a compulsory appearance, he clarified for


Klimov's lawyer insists that his client was not among the founders of legal entities of Jehovah's Witnesses, but his meetings with believers bore a private character.


"Klimov is prepared to endure any sentence. He understands that real time is quite possible, considering that he has already been in custody more than a year. But he is prepared to consistently defend his position in all courts, because he understands that he will be rehabilitated," Leontiev told


The European Court of Human Rights accepted an appeal of the Klimov case. His wife, Iulia, was among the wives of detained Jehovah's Witnesses who signed the appeal to the Council on Human Rights under the Russian president. The council, in its turn, addressed the office of the prosecutor general.


"In exchange for freedom and a peaceful life they offer us renunciation of our faith. This is not a figure of speech. In the literal sense of the word investigators offer to us to sign a paper in order to avoid punishment for 'extremism.' Otherwise, they say, no lawyers can help us. But we cannot cease believing in God," the [wives'] letter says.


In December 2018 a member of the Council on Human Rights, Ekaterina Shulman, described for the president the criminal cases against believers and the fact that of 489 forbidden organizations, 404 were Jehovah's Witnesses.


"The Jehovah's Witnesses are also Christians, for which they are persecuted. I do not understand that very well. Therefore it is necessary simply to analyze what to do," Vladimir Putin answered.


The Memorial rights advocacy center writes that 143 believers have been subjected to criminal prosecution, 27 are in a SIZO, and 34 are under house arrest. These include Siberians.


Criminal cases are reported in Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, and Omsk oblasts, the Krasnoyarsk territory, and Khakasia. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 October 2019)



Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 21 October 2019


On 21 October 2019, hearings continued in Tomsk in the case of Sergei Klimov, who is accused of extremism only because he did not cease to profess his religion after the decision of the Supreme Court. The prosecutor's office considers that this "crime" should be punished by 7 years imprisonment.


The believer is being tried on the basis of part 1 of article 282 of the CC RF (arranging the activity of an extremist organization). Speaking in the debates in October district court of Tomsk, the prosecutor declared that all confirmations of Klimov's "extremist activity" had been found, for example making speeches and singing songs. At the same time the prosecutor acknowledged that the defendant's involvement in a forbidden religious organization had not been legally established, although in the opinion of the prosecution there are signs pointing to his role as the "effective director" and "spiritual leader."


The prosecutor's office asked for a punishment of the defendant in the form of 7 years incarceration to be served in a correctional penal colony of general regime, plus another year and a half of restricted liberty. Also it was proposed to forbid engaging in educational activity and posting any materials on the internet for 8 years.


The next court hearing is scheduled for 28 October, after which the issuing of a sentence is expected.


Sergei Klimov has been in a SIZO for more than a year, since 3 June 2018. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 21 October 2019).

Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,