Religious issues and persecution – Bimonthly Digest June 16-30


29.06.2024 – Dagestani Jews look to rebuild after extremist attacks in the restive region of southern Russia


Apnews – Jews in the predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan in southern Russia say they are determined to regroup and rebuild following a deadly attack by Islamic militants on Christian and Jewish houses of worship in two cities last weekend.


The attacks in the regional capital of Makhachkala and the city of Derbent on Sunday killed 21 people — most of them police officers — and injured at least 43 others in the restive region in the North Caucasus on the Caspian Sea.


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27.06.2024 – Three Jehovah’s Witnesses from Novocherkassk sentenced to up to six and a half years in a penal colony for their beliefs


JW – On June 26, 2024, Nikolay Egorov, judge of the Novocherkassk City Court of the Rostov Region, sentenced Lubov Galitsina to 2 years and 3 months, Gevorg Yeritsyan to 6 years and 2 months, and Garegin Khachaturyan to 6.5 years in a penal colony. The court considered the term assigned to Galitsina to have already been served, she will remain at large.


In August 2022, Investigative Committee investigator V. V. Bardakov opened a criminal case against three believers. The men were accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization, and the woman was accused of participating in it. On the same day, their homes were searched. All three were interrogated and detained.

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27.06.2024 – Another resident of the Bryansk Region was convicted for her faith.

JW – On June 25, 2024, Tatyana Postavneva, judge of the Unecha District Court of the Bryansk Region, found Yuliya Globa guilty of extremism. English teacher, 42, got a 2,5-year suspended sentence for practicing her religion.


In May 2023, the Investigative Committee of the Bryansk Region opened a criminal case against the believer. The investigation considered the conversations with people about the Bible to be participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Prior to that, Yuliya and her husband Ernest had been searched three times. After 4.5 months of investigative actions the case went to court.

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26.06.2024 – A Court of Appeal upholds the conviction of Jehovah’s Witnesses spouses from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky


JW – On June 25, 2024, the Kamchatka Regional Court upheld the sentence of the court of first instance against Yelena and Sergey Chechulin: 2-year suspended sentences for participating in the activities of an “extremist” organization.


The believers do not agree with the decisions of the courts. Yelena Chechulina noted in her appeal: “The court did not establish the presence of motives of religious hatred or enmity in my actions, and it did not establish against which specific social group I acted. All my actions were completely peaceful.” She added: “The law does not consider the confession, including together with others, of the religion to which the liquidated religious associations belonged as a sign of extremism. Therefore, the recognition of a legal entity as extremist is not tantamount to imposing a ban on a religious denomination with its inherent creeds, spiritual terminology, and the procedure for holding worship.”


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25.06.2024 – Russia imposes longest sentences yet on Jehovah’s Witnesses for ‘extremism’


Reuters – Russia has jailed three Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than eight years each for alleged extremist activity, a spokesperson for the faith group said, the harshest sentences it has imposed yet on members of the organisation after hundreds of prosecutions.

New York-based spokesperson Jarrod Lopes said the verdicts were handed down in a case arising from a police raid on a cafe in 2018 where some 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses were attending a social, not religious, event.


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24.06.2024 – Further jail term for answering fellow prisoners’ questions about faith?


Forum 18 – Jehovah’s Witness prisoner of conscience Dmitry Terebilov, who has been serving a sentence in a strict-regime labour camp (penal colony) in Kostroma Region, is currently on trial again for having answered questions about his faith from a fellow prisoner. The camp administration has recordings of his conversations. If found guilty, he could receive a further sentence of several years, on top of his present 3-year term.


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24.06.2024 – Three more religious organizations have been added to the list of undesirable organizations


Sova – On June 21, 2024, the list of organizations whose activities are considered undesirable in the Russian Federation was expanded. The list included three evangelical non-governmental organizations from the United States, Canada, and Finland.


We are talking about two branches of the religious organization “Great Commission Ministry”: the Canadian Great Commission Media Ministries (GCMM, “Media Ministry of the Great Commission”, “Media Service of the Great Commission Mission”) and the American Great Commission Media Ministries (GCMM, “Media Ministry of the Great Commission”, “Media Service of the Great Commission Mission”) and their affiliate International Russian Radio & Television (IRR/TV, “International Russian Radio and Television”) from Finland.


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24.06.2024 – Khabarovsk court issues harshest verdict against Jehovah’s Witnesses since their organizations were banned

Sova – The court sentenced three of the six defendants to more than eight years in prison.

On June 20, 2024, the Industrial District Court of Khabarovsk sentenced three believers to the maximum prison terms for the entire period of persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses after the ban on their organizations in Russia. The court sentenced Nikolai Polevodov, Vitaly Zhuk, and Stanislav Kim to eight and a half years, eight years and four months, and eight years and two months of imprisonment, respectively, to be served in a general regime penal colony under Part 1 of Article 282.2 (organization of the activities of an extremist organization). Tatyana Zhuk, Svetlana Sedova, and Maya Karpushkina were given suspended sentences under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code (participation in the activities of an extremist organization): five years for Zhuk and Sedova, and four years for Karpushkina.


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23.06.2024 – At least 20 killed in synagogue, church attacks in Russia’s Dagestan

ALjazeera – Three days of mourning have been declared in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan following an attack by gunmen on a church, synagogue and police post.


The death toll from the attacks in the restive Russian region has risen to 20 people, Russia’s Investigative



20.06.2024 – Who ordered torture of Jehovah’s Witness prisoner of conscience?


Forum 18 – Fellow medical facility prisoners tortured prisoner of conscience Rinat Kiramov over four days in April after he refused to give names of fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses in his home town. They punched, kicked, waterboarded, threatened with rape, and shocked him with a stun gun. It is unclear how the prisoners had access to a stun gun. Kiramov’s lawyer lodged a complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office, which passed it to police. Whether police investigators have decided to open a criminal case is unknown. The UN Convention against Torture obliges states to arrest and punish officials who commit, order or allow torture. There is a long-standing pattern of impunity for torturers.


Jehovah’s Witness Rinat Kiramov, who is serving a 7-year sentence in Tula Region to punish his exercise of freedom of religion or belief, was beaten and tortured in a Federal Penitentiary Service medical facility by inmates who demanded information about other Jehovah’s Witnesses in his home town in Astrakhan Region.


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20.06.2024 – Attempted arson of a church in the Nizhny Novgorod region


Sova – On June 20, 2024, it became known that in the city of Shakhunya in the Nizhny Novgorod region, an unknown person attempted to set fire to a church building. He threw a bottle with an incendiary mixture at the wall of the building.

The perpetrator was detained by parishioners, who immediately put out the fire. The arsonist turned out to be a 38-year-old local resident.

A criminal case has been opened .


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