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RUSSIA: Freedom of religion or belief : Special Bimonthly FORB digest (01-14.11.2021)

11.11.2021 – Three Jehovah’s Witnesses detained after searches in Astrakhan region

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239661/

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New searches of Jehovah’s Witnesses took place on November 9 in Akhtubinsk and Znamensk (Astrakhan Region). As the correspondent of the Portal “Credo.Press” reports, dozens of people were detained for interrogation as a result of the searches. Three were sent to the temporary detention center: 48-year-old Sergei Korolev, 60-year-old Sergei Kosyanenko and 34-year-old Rinat Kiramov.

Hours of searches and interrogations began at about 6 am. In at least one of the cases – during a search at Rinat Kiramov’s house – the security forces broke down the front doors of the dwelling.

 

New searches and arrests in the region came shortly after the court handed down one of the harshest sentences since the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses legal entities in Russia. On October 25, Rustam Diarov, Sergei Klikunov and Yevgeny Ivanov were sentenced to 8 years, and Yevgeny’s wife Olga was sentenced to 3.5 years in a general regime colony for belonging to the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses *.

* In 2017, the Supreme Court recognized all religious organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia as extremist and liquidated them, which led to massive persecution of believers under Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation

 

11.11.2021 – USCIRF recommends including the Russian Federation in the list of countries with the maximum number of violations

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239655/

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The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) published on November 5 recommendations to include several more countries on the list of particular concerns about the state of religious freedom in them. Russia is also mentioned among these countries, reports IAC “Sova” (recognized by the authorities of the Russian Federation as a foreign agent, but disputes this status).

The Commission recommended that the US Department of State update the Country of Particular Concern (CPC) or Special Watchlist (SWL) list.

 

10.11.2021 – Jehovah’s Witness who was forcibly placed in a psychiatric hospital, obtained compensation from the Russian Federation

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239647/

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In the second half of October, the court of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra recovered 28,500 rubles from the Russian Federation in favor of Jehovah’s Witness * Timofey Zhukov, who was forcibly hospitalized for a psychiatric examination because of his faith. This decision coincided with the beginning of the trial of him and 19 other residents of Surgut, the correspondent of the Portal “Credo.Press” reports, citing a source among Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses.

A criminal case against believers from this city was initiated in February 2019. Then they were searched, and some of them reported that they were tortured by law enforcement officers right in the building of the Investigative Committee.

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10.11.2021 – In the Urals, the introduction of QR codes for entering mosques is being discussed

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://ria.ru/20211110/mecheti-1758358045.html

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The Ural Mukhtasibat is discussing the possibility of introducing QR codes for visiting mosques in the Sverdlovsk region , Artur Mukhutdinov, chairman of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims in the region , told RIA Novosti.

Earlier, the vice-governor of the Sverdlovsk region Pavel Krekov said that the authorities recommend making churches, mosques and synagogues COVID-free zones, but the final decision is with the leadership of the confessions.

“(The question of introducing QR codes) is still under discussion. We have a difficult situation in this regard. For example, for Friday prayers, people do not fit in the mosque. There are not enough mosques, many people come to the street. Religious leaders, of course, can call people, so that only those who are vaccinated and who have a QR code or who have been ill come. But who will check them? How feasible it will be is a question. Now no decisions have been made at the level of discussions of the council of the Ural Mukhtasibat “, – said the interlocutor of the agency.

According to Mukhutdinov, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of the Sverdlovsk Region regularly monitors statistics on the incidence of coronavirus in the region and vaccinations, as well as monitors new government regulations.

 

09.11.2021 – A court in Moscow retained Jehovah’s Witness in custody, despite the guarantee of a member of the HRC under the President of the Russian Federation

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239626/

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The Savyolovsky District Court of Moscow extended the detention of Jehovah’s Witness Yuri Temirbulatov for another 3 months on November 8. While in custody, he underwent surgery. Andrei Babushkin from the Human Rights Council (HRC) under the President of the Russian Federation personally asked the court to soften his measure of restraint and presented the court with a surety for the suspect, the correspondent of the Credo.Press portal reports, citing a source among Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The believer has been imprisoned for 9 months already, despite the fact that he suffers from numerous chronic diseases. In addition, he was diagnosed with an oncological disease in the pre-trial detention center. In October, Temirbulatov underwent a major operation to remove the tumor. After being discharged from the hospital, he was transferred back to the Matrosskaya Tishina SIZO.

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09.11.2021 – Three Stavropol Muslims have been warned for holding a prayer meeting

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239613/

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At the end of October, the Industrial Court of Stavropol found Magomed Salamov, Rajab Khaamirzaev and Magomed Gitinov guilty under Part 2 of Art. 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (organizing or holding a public event without filing a notification of the holding of a public event in accordance with the established procedure), reported on November 8 IAC “Sova” (recognized by the authorities of the Russian Federation as a foreign agent, but disputes this status).

The reason for the initiation of the case was the holding of a prayer meeting in the “Sofia” banquet hall “with the preaching of scholars and theologians and the performance of religious chants (nasheeds).” The announcement of the meeting was published on Instagram, and more than 200 people attended the meeting.

 

08.11.2021 – Putin removes the Taliban from the List of terrorist organizations

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239608/

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At the end of October, Vladimir Putin said that Russia would “move” towards the exclusion of the Taliban from the List of terrorist organizations, noting that the decision to recognize the Taliban as terrorist was made at the UN level.

The management of MIA Rossiya Segodnya, which includes the RIA Novosti agency, sent out a letter to employees demanding to stop calling the Taliban movement* an “organization banned in Russia” in their materials. A screenshot of the letter was published on November 8 by the telegram channel “Caution, news”. One of the employees of RIA Novosti confirmed to the channel “We can explain” that he received such a letter.

 

08.11.2021 – Civil rights committee takes stand for Jehovah’s Witnesses

Link to full text in Russian: https://credo.press/239610/

Jehovah’s Witnesses are distinguished by their amazing steadfastness in the face of persecutions. There are almost no instances of renunciation of the faith among them. And they are persecuted in states with authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Treatment of this confession is the litmus test of democracy.

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08.11.2021 – In Crimea, Jehovah’s Witnesses jailed for ‘extremism,’ sent to Russian labor camps

On Oct. 22, a judge in the city of Sevastopol jailed 49-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Igor Schmidt for six years on extremism-related charges, to be followed by six years of restrictions. The prosecution presented no one in court who they said had been a victim of Schmidt’s exercise of his freedom of religion and belief. If any appeal fails, he is likely to be sent to a labor camp in Russia to serve his sentence.

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03.11.2021 – Professor of the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of Moscow State University urged to supplement the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation with “insulting the feelings of atheists”

 

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239546/

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He cited as an example the administrative legislation of Russia and the article “Violation of the legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and on religious associations” of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, which “spells out the protection of both religious people and non-believers.”

 

“In the Administrative Code, the wording of this article is more logical. Criminal law is a policy, in this case, changes were made in 2013 to the edition of Article 148 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, they were just related to the events that took place in society, when some people ran into the temple, performed some strange actions and all this was posted on social networks, – the professor recalled, referring to the “punk prayer” “Virgin Mary, chase Putin away.” “So it was the state’s reaction to very specific things.”

 

03.11.2021 – The muftiate spoke about the reduction in the number of migrants in Moscow

Link to full text in Russian: https://ria.ru/20211103/migranty-1757498342.html/

In Moscow, there are not enough mosques even for local Muslims, not to mention migrants, so reducing the number of visiting Muslims in the capital and building new prayer houses will help improve the situation, Rushan Abbyasov, deputy head of the Council of Muftis of Russia (SMR), mufti of the Moscow region , told RIA Novosti .

Earlier, the deputy mayor of Moscow for construction, Andrey Bochkarev, said in an interview with RBC that the capital construction complex, together with contractors, should develop an action plan that would make it possible to do without foreign labor at the city’s construction sites. To overcome the existing labor shortage in the construction sector of Moscow, according to the official, it is first of all necessary to raise wages and the level of mechanization at construction sites. As Bochkarev said, now about 40 thousand migrants work on construction sites in the capital, while before the COVID-19 pandemic there were 120 thousand of them.

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02.11.2021 – Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation called for the abolition of the article on “insulting the feelings of believers” as anti-constitutional

Link to full text (only in Russian): https://credo.press/239524/

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“According to the Constitution, our believers and atheists are equal,” says the deputy. “But according to the law, it turns out that only the feelings of believers can be insulted. True, it seems that the Krasnodar prosecutor’s office tried to find an insult to the feelings of atheists, but the atheists did not ask her about it. Therefore, several years ago we introduced a bill that has not yet been considered by the State Duma, which changes the subject of this article. We believe that offending the feelings of believers is possible only in the temple, or where other ritual actions are performed. The bill comes from the theory of dual truth, which was once professed in the 18th century. It boils down to the following: there is nothing for a violent atheist or adherent of another religion to do in someone else’s temple, just as there is nothing to do for a violent believer at a secular exhibition, where he specially comes to offend his feelings. It is necessary to separate God from God, but to Caesar what is Caesar’s. In combination with the exclusion of punishments from the Criminal Code and the transfer to the Administrative Code, I think this would be correct. ”

 

 

 

 

 

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