In the photo: Sergey Belousov with his wife on the day of the verdict
Seversk-Based Sergey Belousov Was Given a Three-Year Suspended Sentence for Attending Peaceful Worship Services of Jehovah's WitnessesTomsk Region
On April 14, 2022, the Severskiy City Court of the Tomsk Region sentenced Sergey Belousov to three years suspended sentence. Despite the recent clarification of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, Judge Yekaterina Soldatenko found the believer guilty of extremism only for participating in peaceful worship.
The court deprived Belousov of the right to post materials in information and telecommunication networks and on the Internet for a period of 5 years with restriction of freedom for 1 year. The believer is also forbidden to leave the house from 22:00 to 6:00, visit places of sports, cultural, entertainment and public events and participate in them.
The accusation was based on the testimony of the notorious Kira Klisheva, an intelligence agent who collected information about believers in Seversk and made covert videos of worship services. The court reviewed five such records. The prosecution did not present any evidence of Belousov's extremist activities. Despite this, the prosecutor asked for a sentence of 5 years in a general regime penal colony with restriction of freedom for 1 year for the believer.
In his last speech, Belousov emphasized: “It is important for me to have a good reputation in the eyes of God. Of course, under pressure, out of fear, someone can give up their beliefs. But what's next? How to live with it? To trample your conscience? Never! It is better to be not recognized by people, but approved by God.”
Sergey Belousov faced criminal prosecution for his faith back in July 2020, when officers from the Investigative Committee and the FSB broke into the homes of several families in Seversk. Then the case was brought against another believer, Yevgeniy Korotun. In March 2021, the investigative department for ZATO in Seversk brought the case against Belousov into a separate proceeding and placed him on a recognizance agreement. Three months later, the case went to court.
The criminal prosecution proved to be a test for the entire Belousov family: the feeling of constant surveillance does not leave them and any knock on the door reminds them of the search they experienced. Due to the constant stress Sergey's chronic diseases worsened. Because of his travel ban he could not visit his elderly parents. “I worry about my father and mother. I am sorry that I cannot be with them: they are already aged, and my father has to deal with a serious illness that threatens his life,” Belousov shared.
The verdict has not entered into force. The believer insists on his complete innocence and has the right to file an appeal.
In the Tomsk Region, 7 Jehovah's Witnesses are already being repressed simply for not giving up their peaceful beliefs. One of them, Sergey Klimov, is currently serving a long term in a penal colony, and 80-year-old Yelena Saveliyeva was sentenced to 4 years of probation.
The world community and Russian human rights activists unanimously condemn the infringement of the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.