RUSSIA : Special bimonthly on freedom of religion or belief (01-15.04.2021)
15.04.21 – Raids and criminal cases for faith in the Tula region. Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses gripped another region of Russia
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/17.html
On April 13, 2021, law enforcement officers searched 17 addresses of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tula and the neighboring city of Kireevsk (Tula Region). 58-year-old Gurami Lobadze was placed under house arrest, a case was initiated against him for his faith under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of extremist activities).
14.04.21 – A new wave of religious persecution in Kholmskaya. Another criminal case for faith opened
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/15.html
On April 7, 2021, as part of new criminal cases, at least 4 peaceful believers were searched in the village of Kholmskaya (Krasnodar Territory). The search warrants were issued by judge Aleksandr Kholoshin, who two months earlier had handed down a harsh sentence to Aleksandr Ivshin.
14.04.21 – Mass searches in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses took place in the Yaroslavl Region. At least one believer is detained
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/16.html
On the morning of April 13, 2021, in Yaroslavl and neighboring Rybinsk, FSB and National Guard officers conducted searches in the homes of believers. The Investigative Committee reports that the raid took place at 31 addresses, but this information is being specified. The 45-year-old father of a young child, Andrey Vyushin, was detained and sent to the temporary detention facility.
13.04.21 – While waiting for an appeal against the harsh sentence, Aleksandr Ivshin visited five pre-trial detention centers in 1.5 months and fell seriously ill
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/14.html
Aleksandr Ivshin, 63, is awaiting an appeal against the harsh sentence for his faith. The hearing will be held by conference call from the SIZO of the city of Syzran (Samara region) on April 15, 2021. Within 2 weeks, the pensioner was transported from one pre-trial detention center to another in five regions of Russia. On the way, he fell seriously ill.
13.04.21 – RUSSIA: Flagship Protestant colleges stripped of right to offer higher education
The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Ingria’s Theological Institute lost its higher education licence on 6 April, the third flagship Protestant educational institution to lose the right to conduct formal religious education. Another Lutheran seminary is fighting against the stripping of its licence through the courts.
09.04.21 – Prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses gets more brutal
Link to full text in Russian: https://cutt.ly/Hvx09fG
Igor Turik, Viktor Kuchkov, Boris Burylov, Alexander Inozemtsev, and Yury Vaag are being prosecuted merely because of participation in a local congregation of believers.
On 8 April, in the debates in the Industrial district court of Perm, the prosecution side requested real prison terms for five Jehovah’s Witnesses: 52-year-old Igor Turik, 80-year-old Boris Burylov, 53-year-old Viktor Kuchkov, 45-year-old Yury Vaag, and 48-year-old Alexander Inozemtsev. This has been written by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
08.04.21 – New web project about the deportation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Soviet Union: 3D exhibition, photos, documents, books
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/11.html
A new website about the mass confessional expulsion of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the faith in the Soviet Union – “70 years of Operation North” has been launched. You will be able to visit the 3D museum, find out how and why believers were repressed, hear first-hand stories from the victims of the tragedy and get acquainted with the declassified archives of the USSR Ministry of State Security.
08.04.21 – An appeal filed in Birobidzhan upheld Artur Lokhvitskiy’s conviction for practicing his faith – a two-and-a-half year probation
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/12.html
On April 8, 2021, the court of the Jewish Autonomous Region did not satisfy the appeal of a resident of Birobidzhan, 35-year-old Artur Lokhvitskiy, who had previously been sentenced to 2.5 years of probation for his faith. During the hearing, the judge forbade the believer to quote the Bible, threatening additional punishment.
08.04.21 – Court of appeals declines to soften sentence given to leader of Aum Shinrikyo‘s Russian cell
A military appellate court has upheld the sentence handed down to Mikhail Ustyantsev, the head of the Russian cell of the community Aum Shinrikyo (banned in Russia), who was convicted for creating a terrorist organization on the territory of Russia.
07.04.21 – 70 years of Operation North – eyewitnesses and experts discuss the mass deportation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the USSR
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/9.html
“To evict forever.” The government’s order for the largest religious deportation in the USSR, which commenced in April of 1951, changed the lives of thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses forever. Men and women, the elderly and babies – about 10,000 individuals – were loaded onto freight trains and transported in inhumane conditions from the western regions of the country to the north without the right to return.
07.04.21 – Russian investigation bureau nabs four Jehovah’s Witnesses
Link to full text in Russian: https://cutt.ly/9vx0SyH
The investigation department for Abinsk district of the territorial department of the S.K.R. [Russian Investigative Committee] is investigating criminal cases against four local residents. They are suspected of participating in an extremist organization and enticing others into its activity. This is reported by the press service of the bureau.
06.04.21 – Court unmoved by appeal of elderly Jehovah’s Witness
Link to full text in Russian: https://credo.press/236544/
On 5 April, a Novosibirsk oblast court left unchanged the verdict of the Lenin district court of Novosibirsk regarding 67-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Yury Saveliev. He was sentenced to 6 years in a penal colony of ordinary regime and now the sentence has taken legal effect, a correspondent of the portal Credo.Press reports, with reference to a source among the Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses.
06.04.21 – A third Jehovah’s Witness from the village of Kholmskaya has been sentenced to three-year prison sentence.
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/8.html
On April 6, 2021, the judge of the Abinsky District Court of the Krasnodar Territory, Sergey Mikhin, sentenced Aleksandr Shcherbina to 3 years in a general regime colony, considering prayers and reading the Bible “the activities of an extremist organization.” The verdict can be appealed, the believer insists on his innocence.
05.04.21 – A Novosibirsk appeal upheld 67-year-old Yuriy Savelyev’s verdict: six years in prison for practicing his faith
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/6.html
On April 5, 2021, the Novosibirsk Regional Court upheld the verdict of the Leninsky District Court of Novosibirsk against the 67-year-old pensioner Yuriy Savelyev. He had been sentenced to 6 years in a general regime colony.
The verdict entered into force.
02.04.21 – Birobidzhan-based Tatyana Zagulina was handed a two-and-a-half year probation for reading the Bible
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/2.html
On April 1, 2021, Yuliya Tsykina, judge of the Birobidzhan District Court, found Tatyana Zagulina guilty of participating in the activities of a banned organization. She was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months of suspended imprisonment and 2 years of restriction of freedom.
01.04.21 – St. Petersburg court bans mobile app of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia
The Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg has declared as extremist the mobile app JW Library of the religious organization Jehovah’s Witnesses , banned in Russia, and prohibited its distribution in the territory of Russia, the press service for the city prosecutor’s office said.
01.04.21 – A St. Petersburg court banned a popular JW Library mobile application
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/04/1.html
On March 31, 2021, the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg declared as “extremist” and banned the distribution in Russia of the religious mobile application JW Library, a library which contains biblical texts, audio and video materials. The court made this decision without even examining the application.