Photo: Roman Markin, Viktor Trofimov
In Murmansk, after 176 days in pre-trial detention, two believers were placed under house arrestMurmansk Region
On October 10, 2018, the Polyarny District Court of the Murmansk Region decided to soften the preventive measure for 61-year-old Viktor Trofimov and 44-year-old Roman Markin and transferred them to house arrest. They were arrested on April 18, 2018 by officers of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region.
Both face up to 10 years in prison under the article "organization of the activities of an extremist community" (part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). After the Russian Supreme Court liquidated and declared "extremist" all 396 organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses, law enforcement agencies across the country mistakenly interpret peaceful meetings of believers as "extremist activity." A total of at least 43 people were sent to prison, most of them, 26 people, are still in pre-trial detention centers or temporary detention facilities, the rest of the measure of restraint has been mitigated.
At the same time, in the ECHR, the Russian Government argues that the decision of the Supreme Court and the appellate ruling by which it was upheld "do not assess the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses, do not contain a restriction or prohibition to practice the above teaching individually" (paragraph 91 of the comments of the Russian Federation on complaint No. 10188/17 "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia and Kalin v. Russian Federation"). Dozens of human rights activists, as well as the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation , express concern about the growing religious repression.