According to available information, over the past 12 months 269 searches in the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses were conducted throughout Russia as a direct consequence of the ban on their activity. Any search turns the life of an innocent person into a nightmare, affecting health, causing deep emotional trauma, and undermining their reputation.
Measures have been reduced from prison detention to restrictions on various activities, and even just on travel, but believers still face the threat of up to 10 years in prison. Investigators demand the right to hold them under guard in failed attempts to force them into self-incrimination.
On December 18, 2018, a new complaint entitled “Moskalenko versus Russia” was submitted to the ECHR. The Strasbourg court has been asked to give this case priority handling in line with its policies.
The court believed the improbable: five witnesses for the prosecution who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses confessed to the mass distribution of religious literature under the personal direction of Arkadya Akopyan.
Публикуются некоторые случаи нарушения прав верующих, которые произошли в 2018 году.
A verdict in the case of Arkadi Akopyan will be announced in the Prokhladniy District Court. In its closing arguments the prosecutor requested 3 years of incarceration with a suspended sentence. The accused believer in his closing comments requested that he be fully exonerated.
В течение 2018 года власти запретили организацию Свидетелей Иеговы, за верующими велась слежка, их вызывали на допросы и грозили арестами.
Oral arguments began on 21 December 2018 in Kabardino-Balkaria regarding 70-year-old Arkadya Akopyan, who is accused of violating Article 282(1) of the Russian Criminal Code. The prosecutor demands a conditional sentence of three years deprivation of liberty and two years’ probation.
This application was filed on behalf of the 395 local religious organisations (LROs) that were liquidated by the Russian Supreme Court in April 2017 along with the Administrative Centre of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
The Russian government’s position in the international court blatantly contradicts its position in domestic court.
Vladimir Putin: “Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Also Christians. I Don’t Understand Either Why They’re Being Persecuted”.
“This is complete nonsense. We have to investigate this carefully”, Vladimir Putin commented regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses being included on the list of extremist organisations.
On 4 December 2018, Sergey and Anastasiya Polyakov were transferred to house arrest. The police tried to compel them to incriminate themselves and others. Neither the Polyakovs nor dozens of others imprisoned for their faith throughout Russia are going to make such a deal with investigators.
On 2 December 2018 in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, armed police in masks raided one of the homes. Its occupants were suspected of reading the Bible. A criminal case was initiated against 44-year-old Sergey Ledenev, who signed an agreement restricting travel.
On 25 November 2018 on a wave of searches, five people were arrested and sent to a detention centre. Two days later, house arrest was imposed on four of them, and one man was released. In total, in the Primorskiy Territory, at least four criminal cases have been initiated for reasons of faith.
On 23 November 2018 in Polyarnyy, the homes of two families were searched, leading to the seizure of Bibles in the synodal translation, a scientific paper on religion, notebooks, notes, a telephone, a computer and tablets.
On average, 25 agents invaded each home. Several people were harmed to varying degrees. During the searches, money and valuables were stolen.
On 15 November 2018 in Dzhankoy, 78-year-old Aleksandr Ursu was pinned to the wall, fell on his knees and was handcuffed.
On 15 November 2018, the appellate court overturned a ruling to extend the pre-trial detention of Dmitriy Mikhaylov, a 40-year-old resident of Shuya.