RUSSIA: Jehovah’s Witness Tatyana Piskareva, 67, sentenced to 2 years and 6 months of forced labor

She was just participating in a religious worship online. Earlier, her husband Vladimir received six years in prison on similar charges.

By Willy Fautré, director of Human Rights Without Frontiers

The European Times NewsThe European Times (27.03.2024) – Tatyana Piskareva, a pensioner from Oryol, was found guilty of participating in the activities of an “extremist” organization because of her faith. On March 1, 2024, Dmitriy Sukhov, judge of the Sovetskiy District Court of Oryol, sentenced her to 2 years and 6 months of forced labor.

Her case is part of the persecution of other family members: Tatyana’s husband, Vladimir, received 6 years in prison under an anti-extremism article of the criminal code and is now awaiting an appeal. He was arrested after searches in December 2020 and has been behind bars ever since. There he suffered several hypertension crises and a stroke; he was diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Tatyana said: “I wanted to help my husband when he had a crisis, and I could not help in any way. It was painful to watch the inaction of the pre-trial detention center.”

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a case against Piskareva in October 2021. She was accused of participating in worship services via a video conference. The trial began a year and a half later. At the hearing, it turned out that 11 of the 13 prosecution witnesses did not know the believer.

“I love all people regardless of their nationality, race, color and language, religion and other beliefs. I hate extremism in any of its manifestations,” Tatyana said during the trial. “I am a Jehovah’s Witness, and this is not a crime.”

Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website