"I Was Found Guilty Only for Being One of Jehovah's Witnesses." The Appeal Instance Confirmed the Suspended Sentence for Valeriy VyaznikovPrimorye Territory
On January 11, 2023, the Primorye Territory Court upheld the conviction of Valeriy Vyaznikov, a 60-year-old resident of Luchegorsk, to 2.5 years suspended for participating in the "activities of a banned organization." The believer considers this decision unjust.
The court considered the fact that Vyaznikov is one of Jehovah's Witnesses to be evidence of extremism. The defendant noted: "I was convicted only for peacefully practicing my religion, which was reflected in the fact that I once talked about my beliefs and the teachings of the Bible with a young man who turned out to be a law enforcement officer."
The book "About People Steadfast in Persecution," published in 2023 by Doctor of Philosophy, religious scholar Sergey Ivanenko and Doctor of Cultural Studies Yelena Volkova, notes: "Russia is the only country where they [Jehovah's Witnesses] are accused of extremism."
It is noteworthy that about 26% of the nearly 800 Jehovah's Witnesses persecuted in Russia for their faith are over 60 years old.