Dmitriy with his wife Marina after the appeal court decision, Novosibirsk, September 2023
Appeal Court in Novosibirsk Upheld the Sentence for Dmitriy Dolzhikov — 2 Years of Forced Labor for His Faith in Jehovah GodNovosibirsk Region
On September 22, 2023, the Novosibirsk Regional Court upheld the verdict against Dmitriy Dolzhikov. Earlier, the court of the first instance sentenced him to 3 years in a penal colony, but replaced the term with forced labor. Taking into account the time spent under arrest, he will only have to serve 2 years of forced labor.
The court of appeal ignored the arguments of Dolzhikov, who stated: "The law does not consider practising, including together with others, the religion to which the liquidated religious associations belonged as a sign of extremism." In his appeal, Dmitriy stated: "The court did not establish the presence of motives of religious hatred or enmity in my actions; It has not been established against which specific social group I acted. All my actions were completely peaceful. I did not do anything that would indicate the continuation of the activities of any extremist organization."
Back in 2018, human rights activists, commenting on the criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, said: "What is happening to them, in fact, is happening to us: this is a test of the immune forces of society. The prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses shows the failure of anti-extremist legislation in general. If society does not protect Jehovah's Witnesses, if they are not restored to their rights, this will mean that anyone can be declared an extremist."