RUSSIA: Special bimonthly newsletter on freedom of religion or belief (01-15.03.2021)
15.03.21 – Russian repression of religious minorities promoted in Paris
The notorious Alexander Dvorkin and some of his friends claimed they are those who are persecuted—by the U.S. and Bitter Winter.
15.03.21 – The Court of the Jewish autonomous region confirmed the conviction of Yevgeniy Golik: 2.5 years of probation for talking about the Bible
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/9.html
On March 15, 2021, the judge of the Nadezhdinsky District Court of the Primorsky Territory, Diana Merzlyakova, considered the participation of 77-year-old Vladimir Filippov in peaceful religious services as extremism and sentenced him to 6 years of probation with a probationary period of 4 years and restriction of freedom for 1 year.
12.03.21 – A Chelyabinsk court sentenced 73-year-old Valentina Suvorova, a past award recipient for dedication to her profession, to a two-year probation for reading the Bible
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/8.html
CLARIFICATION. On March 11, 2021, the Metallurgicheskiy District Court of Chelyabinsk labeled Valentina Suvorova’s, a retiree, activities as extremist because she “sang songs” and “prayed to Jehovah God.” The believer was given a two-year suspended sentence with additional restrictions on certain activities for a period of six months and a one-year probationary period (initially it was reported that the believer was given a one-year suspended sentence).
12.03.21 – Jewish Autonomous Region court upholds Anastasiya Sycheva’s suspended sentence for participating in Jehovah’s Witnesses worship services
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/6.html
On March 11, 2021, the court of the Jewish Autonomous Region upheld the conditional sentence of 43-year-old Anastasia Sycheva from Obluchye. The verdict entered into force. The believer insists on her innocence. She has the right to appeal against the verdict in cassation, as well as in international instances.
11.03.21 – Kursk court rules that Jehovah’s Witness from Denmark illegally placed in solitary confinement
Kursk, March 11, Interfax – A Kursk Region Court has upheld a decision determining that Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, who was convicted in a case involving organization of the activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization (recognized as extremist and banned in Russia), was placed in solitary confinement illegally, the court press service said.
11.01.21 – A wave of searches in homes of believers in Yalta. A new criminal case was initiated
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/7.html
On March 11, 2021, one more series of searches took place in Yalta in at least 9 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Four people were detained for interrogation, one of them was taken by the security forces to Simferopol.
11.03.21 – A sixth criminal case in the Amur Region. FSB searches 12 Belogorsk-based believers
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/5.html
On the morning of March 4, 2021, groups of security officials conducted searches at 6 addresses in the city of Belogorsk (Amur Region). 12 believers were taken to the local FSB department and later released. A criminal case was initiated for extremist activity based on religion.
10.03.21 – A State prosecutor requested an unprecedented sentence for Jehovah’s Witnesses from Volgograd — nine years in prison for practicing one’s faith
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/4.html
On March 9, 2021, during the debate in the criminal case against four Jehovah’s Witnesses in Volgograd, assistant prosecutor Anna Myagkova requested 9 years in a general regime colony for Valery Rogozin and Denis Peresunko, and 7 years for Igor Yegozaryan and Sergey Melnik.
05.03.21 – A Nizhny Novgorod court sentenced Sergey Verkhoturov to six years of suspended sentence for reading the Bible
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/3.html
On March 5, 2021, Denis Kiselyov, a Prioksky District Court judge, found Sergey Verkhoturov guilty of organizing the activities of a banned organization and sentenced him to a six-year suspended sentence with a four-year probationary period. The believer is insisting he is completely innocent.
03.03.21 – Moscow, the old believers in defence of Jehovah’s Witnesses
The schismatic 17th century community defends “the inalienable right” for the outlawed religious group, even if “they do not share doctrine and ideas”. The Old Believers have suffered past “destruction of churches, confiscation of sanctuaries”, with “exile and imprisonment, torture and the death penalty”. The repression of freedom of conscience raises tensions, conflicts and divisions in society.
03.03.21 – Putin orders Interior Ministry to prosecute provocateurs, suppress all manifestations of extremism
Moscow, March 3, Interfax – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Interior Ministry to resolutely suppress all manifestations of extremism and to prosecute provocateurs who incite people to commit unlawful acts.
March 21 – Situation review of human rights in 2021
The monitoring review was prepared by the Crimean Human Rights Group on the Basis of materials collected in February 2021.
03.03.21 – Homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses were searched in Syktyvkar. Three believers are now behind bars
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/1.html
On the morning of March 2, 2021, at least 14 families of local believers were searched in Syktyvkar. Four men were detained and placed in a temporary detention center. One of them, 59-year-old Sergei Ushakhin, was later released on recognizance not to leave. The rest are awaiting a court decision as they are prevented.
02.03.21 – A Rostov-on-Don appeal upheld the conviction of believer Ruslan Alyyev
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/03/2.html
On March 1, 2021, the Rostov Regional Court upheld the sentence against Ruslan Alyev. The court of appeal recognized him as a member of a banned organization. The believer will be imprisoned for 2.5 years conditionally.