Jehovah's Witness in Tomsk receives excessive punishments



A court sentenced Tomsk Jehovah's Witness Sergei Klimov to six years in a penal colony. He was called the "arranger of the activity of an extremist organization," based on the testimony of a secret witness.


The October district court of Tomsk found Sergei Klimov guilty on the basis of part 1 of article 282 (arranging the activity of a religious association that has been liquidated by a court because of conducting extremist activity). Judge Dmitry Borisov sentenced him to six years in a penal colony of general regime, Klimov's lawyer, Artur Leontiev, told


In 2017 the Russian Supreme Court banned the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and its regional affiliates, ruling them to be extremist. The state's prosecution asked for seven years in a penal colony. The sentence will be appealed, the lawyer emphasized.


Klimov "undermined the foundations of the constitutional structure and the security of the state, predicting the onset of socially dangerous consequences in the form of violation of the rights, liberties, and legal interests of man and citizen, as the result of inciting religious strife, the promotion of exceptionality, and the superiority of a person on the basis of his religious affiliation and relationship to religion," the court's decision says ( has a copy).


The court also forbade the defendant to teach and to be engaged in "activity connected with the posting of appeals and other materials" on the internet, for five years after serving his incarceration.


Klimov was arrested in June 2018 in Tomsk. According to the account of the investigation, he "was the actual director" of the local organization of "Northern Tomsk," 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 conducted services there. The charges were built on the testimony of a secret witness who refused in court to answer the majority of the defense's questions.


Klimov's attorney insists that his client was not one of the founders of the legal entity of Jehovah's Witnesses and his meetings with believers were of a private nature.


The European Court of Human Rights accepted Klimov's appeal in the case. His wife, Iulia, was among the wives of detained Jehovah's Witnesses who signed an appeal to the Council on Human Rights under the Russian president. The CHR, in its turn, appealed to the Office of the Prosecutor General. has described in detail the history of the prosecution of Sergei Klimov and other Jehovah's Witnesses in Siberia. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 November 2019)



Court in Tomsk issued another guilty verdict for faith in Jehovah'

Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 5 November 2019


On 5 November 2019, Judge Dmitry Borisov of the October district court of Tomsk announced the verdict for a local resident, Sergei Klimov, who was convicted of professing an "incorrect" religion: six years imprisonment in a correctional labor colony of general regime.


The judge concluded that the guilt of the 49-year-old believer for serious crimes against the constitutional structure of Russia was fully proven, and all arguments of the defense were adjudged to be not grounded in the law. The only grounds for such a severe sentence are the religious convictions of the defendant, which he did not renounce after the decision of the Supreme Court of 20 April 2017.


After serving the prison term, the believer will be given additional punishments: prohibition to engage in educational activity in all types of educational institutions and to post materials on the internet and other social networks for a period of five years, and also another year of restrictions of liberty (he is prohibited to attend cultural events including festivals, religious holidays, and ceremonies and prohibited to leave the boundaries of Tomsk and to change his place of residence without the permission of supervisory agencies).


Sergei Klimov becomes the eighth Jehovah's Witness in modern Russia to be sentenced to real time in prison for his faith. Before this, similar sentences were received by six believers from Saratov and the Danish citizen Dennis Christensen.


Sergei Klimov's defense lawyer thinks the sentence based on confessional affiliation is illegal and he plans to appeal it. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 November 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 5 November 2019


The Kremlin declared that the judicial sentence regarding the leader of Jehovah's Witnesses in Tomsk is in accord with current legislation in the Russian Federation, but it does not intend to comment on the verdict itself.


"This is still in accord with current legislation and no sorts of corrections in the legislation have yet been introduced. Consequently, the judicial decision was made on the basis of existing law," the Russian president's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said in response to a request for comment on the judicial verdict by which the leader of Jehovists in Tomsk was sentenced to six years incarceration.


"We cannot comment on it (the sentence) and we will not. At the present time there are no elements in the approach to existing legislation," Peskov added. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 November 2019)

Background article:
Longer jail time asked for Jehovah's Witness in Siberia
October 21, 2019

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