Mikhail Fedotov. Photo: kremlin.ru 

On August 14, 2019, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC), met with local Jehovah's Witnesses in Surgut (Yugra) who officially announced the torture inflicted on them by law enforcement officers. The meeting was also attended by the head of the Investigative Committee in Yugra, the first deputy prosecutor of Yugra, the deputy chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Yugra, the deputy governor of Yugra and the mayor of the city of Surgut. On the part of the Witnesses, 28 people were present — victims, as well as members of their families who helped them cope with the psychological consequences of the experience. After the meeting, Mikhail Fedotov said: "My conclusion: We must get to the bottom of the truth. The President is very negative about the facts of torture. We remember his words that this is an absolutely unacceptable practice."

A Knife Was Planted at the Prison Cell of Dennis Christensen as a Pressure Tactic. Soon Members of the Presidential Council Visited Him

At the end of July 2019, employees of the colony where Dennis Christensen was serving his sentence planted a knife at his cell - and, armed with a video camera, they immediately “found” it there. This incident was used to pressure the believer. Supporting him shortly thereafter was the visit of Andrey Babushkin from the presidential Human Rights Council. Human rights activists were interested in the conditions of his detention and respect for human rights.

Read more » Oryol Region

Trial on Merits of Religion of Two Kemerovo Region Citizens Begins. Hearings Scheduled for August-September

In the town of Beryozovsky (Kemerovo region), hearings began on the criminal case over the merits of the religion of Sergey Britvin and Vadim Levchuk. Both of them have been in jail for more than a year. The next meetings are scheduled for August 20 and 21, September 3, 4, 17 and 18, 2019. Read the hearing details in the process chronicle (in Russian). 

Read more » Kemerovo Region

Believer Released Under House Arrest After 112 Days in Smolensk Pre-Trial Detention Center

On August 14, 2019, Smolensk resident Ruslan Korolev was released from the pre-trial detention center, where he had spent a little less than four months. Now the believer will be under house arrest, but three more men and two women are still being held there. 

Read more » Smolensk Region

Prosecutor's Office in Sverdlovsk Region Indicts Three Believers

On August 9, 2019, Karpinsk City Prosecutor Andrei Arzhakhovsky approved the final document in which investigators summarized the charges against Aleksandr Prianikov, Darya and Venera Dulova, suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The case now goes to court: see details of the hearings in the process chronicle (in Russian). 

In Khabarovsk, Trial Nears for 52-Year-Old Witness in Jail for More Than a Year

On August 15, 2019, in the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Khabarovsk, the criminal  investigation against local resident Valery Moskalenko, 52, was completed. He faces up to six years in prison because in the spring of 2018 in a hotel conference room he allegedly talked with friends about faith in Jehovah God. The case is being heard by Judge Ivan Belykh. Debate will begin August 28. The prosecution will announce the sentence they are requesting be imposed on the believer. 

Two Residents of Nizhny Novgorod Region Jailed Due to Their Faith

In July 2019, in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, the court sent Aleksandr Vavilov,51, and Aleksey Oreshkov, 48, to the pre-trial detention center. Both are accused by investigating officers of engaging in extremist activities as presently defined by courts interpreting the peaceful religious beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Elderly Krasnoyarsk Woman Subjected to Armed Raid by Security Forces Citing Religion of Her Grandson

On August 2, 2019, in the village of Nikolaevka (Krasnoyarsk Territory), security forces in masks and bulletproof vests broke into the house of 77-year-old Lyubov Mirenyuk, alone at home, and demanded she hand over all available electronic devices. The sole reason given is the religious views of her grandson, while she herself does not share them.