Memorial says a further 75 Jehovah’s Witnesses are political prisoners, prosecuted for political motives

13.05.2019

The total number of Jehovah’s Witnesses prosecuted for their faith has reached 154.

Memorial Human Rights Centre continues to monitor the unlawful prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The list of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been prosecuted was previously last updated at the beginning of February 2019 when the names of 19 Jehovah’s Witnesses from various Russian regions were added.

Memorial Human Rights Centre is aware of at least six new persons prosecuted and remanded in custody:

  1. Atryakhin, Vladimir Andreevich

  2. Belosludtsev, Yury Nikolaevich

  3. Buglak, Irina Gennad’evna

  4. Sergeev, Sergei Aleksandrovich

  5. Spirin, Evgeny Andreevich

  6. Shevchuk, Aleksandr Stanislavovich

Six Jehovah’s Witness have been placed under house arrest pending trial:

  1. Kairyak, Evgeny Nikolaevich

  2. Kogut, Khasan Abduvaitovich

  3. Maletskov, Valery Vladimirovich

  4. Mysin, Sergei Aleksandrovich

  5. Sazonov, Andrei Vladimirovich

  6. Seredkin, Aleksandr Ivanovich

We have identified a further 63 Jehovah’s Witnesses who are at liberty but subject to criminal prosecution for peaceful profession of their faith:

  1. Agadzhanov, Sergei Artemovich

  2. Alushkina Tatyana Sergeevna

  3. Aminzhanov, Ilkhom Aripzhanovich

  4. Asatryan, Liubov’ Ivanovna

  5. Baranovsky Roman

  6. Baranovskaya Valentina

  7. Berchuk, Aleksei Aleksandrovich

  8. Boronos, Vyacheslav Pavlovich

  9. Burenesku, Vasily Vasil’evich

  10. Volosnikov, Sergei Vladimirovich

  11. Gargalyk, Savely Georgievich

  12. Gerasimov, Artem Viacheslavovich

  13. German, Gennady Vasil’evich

  14. Golik, Dmitry Mikhailovich

  15. Gridasov, Roman Aleksandrovich

  16. Dergacheva, Galina Sergeevna

  17. Dulova, Venera Nikolaevna

  18. Zhugin, Nikolai Nikolaevich

  19. Zhukov, Timofei Viktorovich

  20. Zagulin, Dmitry Nikolaevich

  21. Zelensky, Mikhail Grigor’evich

  22. Kardakova, Inna Alekseevna

  23. Kim, Artem Stanislavovich

  24. Kobotov, Igor’ Sergeevich

  25. Kozak, Evgeny Aleksandrovich

  26. Komissarov, Sergei Vasil’evich

  27. Kuz’o, Taras Grigor’evich

  28. Kulakov, Sergei Vladimirovich

  29. Lekontsev, Pavel Aleksandrovich

  30. Loginov, Sergei Pavlovich

  31. Logunov, Sergei Viktorovich

  32. Matveev, Aleksei Nikolaevich

  33. Moiseenko, Konstantin

  34. Mysina, Natal’ya Aleksandrovna

  35. Ozhiganov, Grigory Yur’evich

  36. Ol’khova, Galiya Anvarovna

  37. Ostapenko, Anton

  38. Petrov, Igor’ Vladimirovich

  39. Plekhov, Aleksei Nikolaevich

  40. Potylitsyn, Sergei Aleksandrovich

  41. Pryanikov, Aleksandr Vital’evich

  42. Revyakin, Viktor Anatol’evich

  43. Romashov, Pavel Yur’evich

  44. Rysikov, Leonid Nikit’evich

  45. Severinchik, Artur Vasil’evich

  46. Solntsev, Mikhail Yur’evich

  47. Solntseva, Oksana Mikhailovna

  48. Tabakov, Andrei Vladimirovich

  49. Teterin, Vladimir Aleksandrovich

  50. Trifonov, Igor’ Petrovich

  51. Udintsev, Evgeny Georgievich

  52. Fedin, Evgeny Anatol’evich

  53. Fefilov, Viktor Aleksandrovich

  54. Khabarov, Aleksei Nikolaevich

  55. Khachikyan, Khoren Nikolaevich

  56. Khvostova, Irina Vladimirovna

  57. Chaplykina, Marina Stanislavovna

  58. Chibisova, Anastasiya Petrovna

  59. Shamov, Aleksandr Petrovich

  60. Shepel’, Viola Aleksandrovna

  61. Shulyarenko, Sergei Aleksandrovich

  62. Shchepin, Andrei Vladimirovich

  63. Yakku, Evgeny Viktorovich

As of 1 May 2019, the total number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are political prisoners in Russia is at least 55, of whom 22 have been remanded in custody and 33 are under house arrest. In addition, at least 99 Jehovah's Witnesses are being prosecuted for political reasons but remain at liberty. Over the past year of incessant repressive measures, at least 154 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prosecuted, a figure that continues to increase.

The relative slowdown in the rate of increase of the number of those on remand is because, alongside the continuing new detentions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is a tendency for some of those remanded in custody earlier to be released and placed under house arrest. Similarly, political prisoners under house arrest are quite often released and placed under travel restrictions.

Our list is evidently incomplete and we shall continue to update it.

A regularly updated list of persons prosecuted for belonging to the Jehovah’s Witness faith is available on our website.

A new unprecedented circumstance in the cases against Jehovah’s Witnesses is the use of torture against suspects after their arrest. It is known that on 15-17 February 2019 at least seven Jehovah’s Witnesses from the city of Surgut (in the Khanty-Mansiisky autonomous district) were subjected to torture. The victims assert they were subjected to electric shocks, suffocation and beatings in the building of the Surgut headquarters of the Investigative Committee. An earlier public statement by President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, that he does not understand why Jehovah’s Witnesses are being prosecuted when, in his words, they are ‘just the same Christians as any others,’ did not prevent the torture of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In the period since the beginning of February 2019, two defendants in cases brought against Jehovah’s Witnesses, included in the list maintained by Memorial Human Rights Centre, were convicted. Both convictions were handed down by the Railway district court in the city of Orel. On 6 February 2019, Danish citizen Dennis Christensen was sentenced to six years in a general regime prison colony; on 1 April 2019, Sergei Skrynnikov was fined 250 000 roubles.

We continue to consider the designation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organisations as extremist to be unfounded and as violations of the right to freedom of conscience and of the right of association. We consider the criminal prosecution of followers of this peaceful faith to be unlawful and discriminatory.

We consider all those Jehovah’s Witnesses remanded in custody or under house arrest to be political prisoners and call for their immediate releases.

We also demand an end to the criminal prosecution of those Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been placed under other forms of pre-trial restriction.

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

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