RUSSIA: 68-year-old Jehovah’s Witness sentenced to 2.5 years of forced labor

Sova Center (16.05.2024) – On March 16, 2024, the Orel Regional Court approved the sentence of Jehovah’s Witness Tatiana Piskareva. She was sentenced to two and a half years of forced labor and six months of restriction of freedom under Part 2 of Art. 282 of the Criminal Code (participation in the activities of an extremist organization).

Piskareva’s sentence was issued by the Soviet District Court of Orel on March 1, 2024. During the debate of the parties on February 21, the state’s prosecutor asked to impose five years of imprisonment. However, the court considered it possible to assign her only two and a half years and replace her imprisonment with forced labor (under Art. 53.1 of the Criminal Code).

The local religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Orel was declared extremist in 2016.

Sova-Center believes that the decisions of Russian courts to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses’ communities, which led to the mass prosecution of believers under Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code, had no legal grounds and are a manifestation of religious discrimination.

In June 2022, the ECHR issued a resolution on the complaint of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in which it recognized that the prohibition of their materials and organizations and the persecution of believers were contrary to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and demanded the termination of criminal cases under Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code against Jehovah’s Witnesses and the release of believers in detention.



Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website