Memorial recognises 53 more Jehovah’s Witnesses as victims of politically motivated prosecutions and political prisoners

09.10.2019

The total number of Jehovah’s Witnesses currently being prosecuted for their faith has reached 206

The Memorial Human Rights Centre continues to monitor the unlawful criminal prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our list of those prosecuted was previously last updated in May 2019 when 75 Jehovah’s Witnesses from various Russian regions were added to the record.

The Memorial Human Rights Centre knows of at least 25 new individuals who have been placed in custody:

1. Abdulgalimov, Marat Nazimovich
2. Abdullaev, Arsen Nazimovich
3. Avanesov, Arsen Vilenovich
4. Avanesov, Vilen Shagenovich
5. Dergalyov, Anton Olegovich
6. Deshko, Evgeny Vladimirovich
7. Galkevich, Tatyana Stepanovna
8. Karpova, Mariya Viktorovna
9. Kuzin, Dmitry Evgenevich
10. Makhnyov, Roman Sergeevich
11. Malkov, Viktor Ivanovich
12. Mel’nik, Sergei Nikolaevich
13. Melnikov, Sergei Viktorovich
14. Miretsky, Aleksei Petrovich
15. Oreshkov, Aleksei Borisovich
16. Osipov, Vyacheslav Ivanovich
17. Parkov, Aleksandr Mikhailovich
18. Rogozin, Valery Anatolevich
19. Shalev, Valery Anatolevich
20. Shamsheva, Tatyana Viktorovna
21. Silaeva, Olga Sergeevna
22. Vavilov, Aleksandr Vladimirovich
23. Vladimirova, Valentina Ivanovna
24. Yavushkin, Sergei Nikolaevich
25. Yegozaryan, Igor Artemovich

Four Jehovah’s Witnesses have been placed under house arrest:
1. Alyev, Ruslan Ramizovich
2. Baibak, Semen Olegovich
3. Bondarchuk, Aleksandr Iosifovich
4. Korolyov, Ruslan Nikolaevich

We have learned that 24 other Jehovah’s Witnesses, who remain free, are being prosecuted for the peaceful profession of their religion:
1. Abrosimova, Galina Alekseevna
2. Aksyonov, Evgeny Anatolevich
3. Amosov, Maksim Vladimirovich
4. Bubnov, Grigory Gennadevich
5. Dulova, Darya Igorevna
6. Ganin, Aleksandr Vyacheslavovich
7. Konshin, Oleg Vladimirovich
8. Leshchenko, Nikolai Grigorevich
9. Maksimovich, Andrei Nikolaevich
10. Malyanov, Sergei Ivanovich
11. Malyanova, Svetlana Sergeevna
12. Mamykina, Kaleriya Fedorovna
13. Manushakyan, Vladimir Ivasikovich
14. Maslov, Dmitry Anatolevich
15. Metsger, Aleksei Aleksandrovich
16. Popov, Vitaly Yurevich
17. Smelov, Aleksei Valerevich
18. Smirnov, Eduard Olegovich
19. Stashevsky, Viktor Vladimirovich
20. Tokarev, Anatoly Mikhailovich
21. Tsaryov, Denis Yurevich
22. Verkhoturov, Sergei Vitalevich
23. Yeremeyev, Maksim Aleksandrovich
24. Zavrazhnov, Maksim Mikhailovich

As of 1 October 2019, at least 66 Jehovah’s Witnesses are political prisoners in Russia. Of these, 38 are in custody and 28 are under house arrest. In addition, at least 140 believers are being prosecuted for politically-motivated reasons but have not been placed in custody; and the prosecution of three believers ended with them being granted an amnesty or given a non-custodial sentence. Since the beginning of mass repressive measures in April 2018, at least 209 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prosecuted under the criminal law, and this figure continues to rise.

The tendency, observed in the spring of 2019, of a relative slow-down in the rate of increase in the number held in custody had moved into reverse by the beginning of autumn. At the same time, the release of political prisoners held under house arrest on travel restrictions became less frequent. It can therefore be said that the policy of repression against Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious minorities is becoming more severe.

Our list, admittedly incomplete, will be updated as we receive the latest information.

The regularly updated list of those prosecuted for belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses can be read on our website.

In recent months in the course of two trials of Jehovah’s Witnesses, seven defendants have been sentenced:

  • On 4 July 2019 the Ordzhonikidze district court in the city of Perm fined Aleksandr Solovyov 300,000 roubles on charges of ‘participation in an extremist organisation’ (Article 282.2, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code).
     
  • On 19 September 2019 the Lenin district court in the city of Saratov sentenced six Jehovah’s Witnesses, charged with ‘organising the activity of an extremist organisation’ (Article 282.2, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) to terms in a prison colony from two years to three years and six months. Konstantin Bazhenov and Aleksei Budenchuk were sentenced to three years and six months in a general-regime prison colony; Felix Makhammadiev was sentenced to three years; and Roman Gridasov, Gennady German and Aleksei Miretsky were sentenced to two years in a general regime prison colony. All those convicted were, in addition, banned from holding leading positions in NGOs for five years and, after release, were to be on probation for one year. The defendants were detained in the courtroom.

Memorial's position

We continue to consider the designation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organisations as extremist to be unjustified and in violation both of freedom of conscience and the right of association. The criminal prosecution of followers of this peaceful religion is unlawful and discriminatory.

We continue to consider all Jehovah’s Witnesses held in custody or under house arrest to be political prisoners and urge their immediate release.

We also demand that all charges against Jehovah’s Witnesses, on whom other forms of pre-trial restriction have been imposed, be dropped.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that the Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.

PayPal — an e-wallet for giving help to all Russian political prisoners: [email protected]

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Программа: Поддержка политзеков

Не менее 206 верующих свидетелей Иеговы преследуется в уголовном порядке по ст.