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ETHIOPIA: UN rights chief denounces Christian-Muslim violence in Ethiopia

UN rights chief denounces Christian-Muslim violence in Ethiopia

Michelle Bachelet calls on authorities to conduct independent investigations into the deadly religious violence.

Aljazeera (07.05.2022) – https://bit.ly/3kWLOrt – The UN human rights chief has voiced alarm at recent deadly clashes between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and called on authorities to investigate and bring perpetrators to justice.

 

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Saturday that she was “deeply distressed” by the violence that erupted late last month in northern Ethiopia, reportedly killing at least 30 people and injuring more than 100 others.

 

The clashes began in Gondar city in the Amhara region on April 26, reportedly in connection with a land dispute, before quickly spreading to other regions and the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, she said.

 

The Islamic Affairs Council of Amhara said the funeral of a Muslim elder had been attacked, describing the scene as a “massacre” by heavily armed “extremist Christians”.

The cemetery where the attack occurred neighbours a mosque and church and has been the subject of an ongoing dispute between Muslims and Orthodox Christians, who are the dominant group in Ethiopia.

 

“I understand two mosques were burnt and another two partially destroyed in Gondar,” Bachelet said in her statement.

 

“In the apparent retaliatory attacks that followed, two Orthodox Christian men were reportedly burnt to death, another man hacked to death, and five churches burnt down” in the southwest of the country, she said, adding that other regions had since seen clashes.

 

In all, police had reportedly arrested and imprisoned at least 578 people in at least four cities in connection with the clashes, she said.

 

“I call on the Ethiopian authorities to promptly initiate and conduct thorough, independent and transparent investigations into each of these deadly incidents,” Bachelet said.

Prevent further inter-religious violence

Authorities should strive to “ensure that those found to be responsible are held to account”, she said, stressing that “individual accountability of perpetrators is essential to prevent further violence.”

At the same time, “those arrested must be fully accorded their due process and fair trial rights in accordance with international human rights law, without discrimination.”

The UN rights chief also called for broader action to reconcile communities in Ethiopia, where Muslims make up about a third of the population.

 

“To prevent further inter-religious violence, it is crucial that the underlying causes of this shocking violence are promptly addressed,” she said, urging “meaningful participation of survivors, families and affected communities”.

 

Such violence in Ethiopia is not a new development. In 2019, authorities arrested five people suspected of burning down four mosques in the town of Motta in the same region.

Fighting in Ethiopia’s wider conflict has eased since the federal government declared a unilateral ceasefire last month, saying it would allow humanitarian aid to enter Tigray.

 

When Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power in 2018, he introduced sweeping political and economic reforms that won him international praise, culminating in the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for peacemaking efforts with longtime enemy Eritrea.

 

Photo: The UN rights chief also called for broader action to reconcile communities in Ethiopia, where Muslims make up about a third of the population [File: AFP]





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INDONESIA: Christian YouTuber sentenced to 10 years in prison for ‘criticizing’ Islam

Christian YouTuber sentenced to 10 years in prison for posting videos critical of Islam

By Anugrah Kumar

 

The Christian Post (09.04.2022) –  https://bit.ly/3vfYrmq – An Indonesian Christian YouTuber has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for posting a video that purportedly offended people across the Muslim-majority country.

 

Muhammad Kace, a former Muslim cleric who converted to Christianity in 2014 and had been uploading videos to YouTube criticizing his former faith, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Ciamis District Court in West Java this week.

 

On the day of his sentencing, Muslims surrounded the court demanding a harsher prosecution of the convert, according to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern.

 

Kace was arrested in Bali last August after he uploaded a sermon video in which he allegedly insulted the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to UCA News, Muslim groups filed several complaints about that video in which he said: “Muhammad is unknown by God and is only known by his followers because he is surrounded by devils.”

When prosecutors demanded a 10-year jail term for him, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Jakarta-based rights group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, noted that Muhammad Yahya Waloni, a Muslim convert from Christianity, was recently convicted of a similar offense against Christians but he received only five months.

 

Police allege that Kace uploaded at least 400 videos insulting Islam. And he did it intentionally to stir public unrest, chief prosecutor Syahnan Tanjung was quoted as telling the court. “This is outrageous, so it warrants a stiff sentence,” he said.

In jail, Kace was beaten and tortured by a police official named Napoleon Bonaparte, who was detained in the same prison due to a corruption case, ICC said, adding that Bonaparte forced Kace to eat his excrement.

 

Kace’s lawyer, Martin Lucas Simanjuntak, has said his client will appeal the sentence.

Andreas Harsono, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch Indonesia, told ICC. “Both Christian preacher Mohammad Kace and Muslim cleric Yahya Waloni need not to stay a single night in prison because of the toxic law.”

 

Timothy Carothers, ICC’s advocacy manager for Southeast Asia, said: “The right to speak one’s mind is essential and must be protected. This sort of treatment and punishment under Indonesian law is a shameful reality. As long as Indonesia continues to enforce religious harmony through regulation and prosecution, it will continue to achieve the opposite.”

 

The Southeast Asian country is home to the world’s largest Muslim population. Its Constitution is based on the doctrine of Pancasila — five principles upholding the nation’s belief in the one and only God and social justice, humanity, unity and democracy for all.

However, there are many extremist groups in Indonesia that oppose Pancasila.

Churches often face opposition from groups that attempt to obstruct the construction of non-Muslim houses of worship.

 

Photo : Christians gather at a church for Easter mass on April 4, 2021, in Surabaya amid tight police security following the March 28 a bombing at the Makassar cathedral on Palm Sunday. | JUNI KRISWANTO/AFP via Getty Images

Further reading about FORB in Indonesia on HRWF website





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CHINA : Freedom of religion or belief: Special bimonthly FoRB newsletter (February)

CHINA : Freedom of religion or belief: Special bimonthly FoRB newsletter (16-28.02.2022)

Protestants

23.02.2022 – Early Rain Church member recounts ‘evil’ persecution in China, dramatic escape to US

Ren Ruiting will forever remember Dec. 9, 2018, as one of the most terrifying and life-altering days in her life.

She had just attended a rehearsal for the upcoming Christmas event at Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, and decided to go to dinner. Suddenly, her phone began buzzing — and the messages were unnerving.

Continue reading…

 

23.02.2022 – Pastor arrested in Ningxia Hui autonomous region

Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (NHAR) is a remote area in Northwest China. It takes its name from the Hui, Chinese-speaking citizens of China who are traditionally Muslims by religion and are considered as members of an “ethnic” minority. Today Hui Muslims are roughly one third of the NHAR population. There is a small Christian minority, which includes less than 2% of the population.

Continue reading…

 

23.02.2022 – Early Rain member’s online message blocked

On February 18, a Christian of Early Rain Covenant Church responded to a public call for input on the webpage of People’s Daily Online, titled “Listen to the People’s Suggestions: My Message to the National People’s Congress in 2022” leaving a message to Zhao Kezhi, the minister of Ministry of Public Security. She earnestly wrote the message to Minister Zhao, but People’s Daily immediately rejected her message. Their programmed response said, “Your submission did not go through, and the message you input includes forbidden words.” Later she posted her message on WeChat Discovery, but it was deleted shortly afterward.

Continue reading…

 

22.02.2022 – Panshi church raided and preacher arrested

On February 19, Mrs. Hao Ying published a prayer request letter and asked fellow Christians to pray for Panshi church, her imprisoned husband Geng Zejun, and other 5 Christians released on bail including herself.

Panshi church is a house church in Huinong District, Shizuishan. The church was raided during its Sunday service on December 5, 2021. The preacher Geng Zejun was administratively detained for 15 days. Later he was released and summoned again. His arrest has been formally approved. The other five Christians were administratively detained for 10 days beforehand and released on bail. They are Hao Ying, Luo Shiping, Ye Ningfang, Zhu Junying, and Wang Sufang.

Continue reading…

 

21.02.2022 – China: Court jails christian pastor for eight years

A district court in central China has sentenced a female Christian pastor to eight years in prison for refusing to join Three-Self Church, a state-controlled body regulating Protestant churches.

Echeng District Court in Ezhou in Hubei province sentenced Hao Zhiwei, 51, pastor of a house church in Ezhou, on charges of fraud on Feb. 11, China Aid reported on Feb. 15.

Continue reading…

 

Church of Almighty God

 

18.02.2022 – Christian arrested for his belief, deprived of sleep for 11 days

Wang Xinhui (pseudonym), male, born in 1991, is a Christian of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in the central province of Henan. On November 20, 2021, he was arrested by the CCP police for his belief in Almighty God. In order to extort the information on the CAG from him, the police subjected him to the tortures of “exhausting an eagle,” freezing, and other methods.

During the interrogation, to force Wang to give up the information, the police ordered him to stay in a squatting position, and they would give kicks to his legs if he could not keep the position well.

Continue reading…

 

16.02.2022 – Christian imprisoned, tortured for her belief

Li Xiaoyang (pseudonym), female, born in 1976, is a Christian of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in the southeastern province of Jiangxi. In September 2021, Li was released from prison after completing her service. She recounted her miserable story in which she was arrested and tortured in prison for her belief in Almighty God.

Continue reading…

 

Buddhists

 

18.02.2022 – China warns Tibetan monks ahead of March anniversaries

A top Chinese official in Tibet visited monasteries in and near the Tibetan capital Lhasa this week to warn monks against behavior considered disloyal to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, state media sources said.

Continue reading…

 

17.02.2022 – Monks in Drago severely ill after six years of torture

Arrested after the 2012 Drago protests, three monks were subjected to forced labour and denied adequate food

Tibet Watch has learned that three senior monks from Drago Monastery are still severely ill after their release from prison four years ago. The three monks, Tsewang Namgyal,Tengya, and another monk whose identity is kept confidential for security reasons, served six-year prison sentences from 2012 until their release in January 2018.

Continue reading…

 

 

16.02.2022 Chinese surveillance unit operating inside Tibetan Buddhist monastery

 

A Chinese police surveillance unit is operating, apparently for the first time, inside a Buddhist monastery as part of a renewed crackdown on Tibetan Buddhist religious institutions, a Tibetan with knowledge of the situation said.

Continue reading…

 

Falun Gong

 

27.02.2022 – 179 practitioners wrongly sentenced during Wu Zhe’s tenure as Dalian City’s chief prosecutor

From September 2016 to October 2021, when Wu Zhe served as the Deputy Prosecutor General of Dalian City Procuratorate in Liaoning Province, 179 local Falun Gong practitioners were unlawfully prosecuted and sentenced to prison. Of the 179 practitioners, 70 were sentenced to prison to four years or more. Three practitioners, Mr. Liu Xiyong, Ms. Zhong Shujuan and Mr. Zheng Dezai, died as a result of the persecution.

Continue reading…

 

21.02.2022 “Canaries in a cold war”: A film on torture, rape, organ harvesting, and more

About James H. White’s compelling documentary “Canaries in a Cold War” which features the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners as a wake up call to the world.

Continue reading…

 

18.02.2022 – 66-year-old woman in critical condition after holding hunger strike to protest arbitrary detention for her faith

A 66-year-old Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia resident is in a coma after weeks of being on a hunger strike to protest her latest arrest on February 1, 2022 for practicing Falun Gong. The police refused to release her despite her critical condition.

Continue reading…

Further reading about FORB in China on HRWF website





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CHINA: Beijing’s foreign ‘useful idiots’ support its Xinjiang propaganda

By Willy Fautré, Human Rights Without Frontiers

HRWF (05.05.2021) – They tell stories confirming that Uyghur culture is flourishing in Xingjiang, that Uyghurs are sent to vocational training centers and not to internment camps. They justify the necessity to fight against Islamic terrorism in Xinjiang by all means and any means. They denounce American imperialism and a huge disinformation operation carried out by the CIA and NGOs financed by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). They criticize the vested interests of their own country with regard to China and the Uyghur issue.

Those foreign propagandists of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are both lauded by Beijing and disparaged in their countries of origin where they are presented as useful idiots, negationists and sometimes superspreaders of conspirationist theories. Who are they?

AFP blacklisting some foreign CCP’s policy propagandists

On 4 May, AFP published an article titled “Sino-béats? Des Occidentaux stars des médias chinois, décriés à domicile’ (China-blissful? Western stars in Chinese media disparaged at home”, in which it listed a number of propagandists supporting China’s policy concerning the Uyghur Muslims:

Maxime Vivas (French): He is a French retired ergonomist. He is the author of a recent book titled “Ouïghours, pour en finir avec les fake news” (Uighurs, to put an end to the fake news) and published on Amazon. On two occasions, he was invited by the Chinese authorities to have “a guided tour” of Xinjiang. He was highly commended by China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for his book which describes “a prosperous and stable Xinjiang” and criticizes “those who fabricate fake news and spread rumors about the alleged repression in Xinjiang without ever visiting the region.”

Vivas claims to have 2500 followers on Twitter. He also published on Amazon “Behind the Smile, the Hidden Side of the Dalai Lama” (2013) and “The Hidden Face of Reporters Without Borders” (2007).

Max Blumenthal (American): He is a journalist, author, blogger and filmmaker. He claims to have 225,000 Twitter followers on his Grayzone website. In a recent tweet, he depicts the World Uighur Congress (WUC) as “a network of right-wing US govt-funded exiles which provides every testimony that US media relies on for its information war on Xinjiang.”

 

Blumenthal has broadcast on RT (formerly known as Russia Today) on many occasions. In December 2015, during a trip to Moscow presumed by multiple sources to have been paid for by the Kremlin.  He has also contributed on multiple occasions to Sputnik radio, as well as to Iran’s Press TV and China’s CGTN.

 

Daniel Dumbrill (Canadian): He promotes China’s policies with videos on YouTube, such as Hongkong is far freer since its return to Chine or Debunking anti-China allegations. He claims to have 110,000 subscribers.  He has been living in China for almost 12 years. He was first in business in Shenzhen before moving to Hong Kong. After staying there for a couple of years, he came back to Shenzhen where he opened a brew pub, several thousand kilometers away from Xinjiang…

Raz Gal-Or (Israelian): This young blogger claims to have 1,7 million followers on the Chinese network Weibo. He makes videos promoting China. In an article titled “Pékin cherche idiots utiles désespérément” (Beijing is desperately looking for useful idiots) and published in Le Monde, Frédéric Lemaître said he met him at the Economic Forum of Boao, the “Chinese Davos”. He admitted that he had met Uyghur farmers chosen by the government.

Bitter Winter blacklisting some foreign CCP’s policy propagandists

Bitter Winter also recently revealed the names some other pro-China and pro-CCP propagandists such as:

Laurène Beaumond (pseudonym): According to her, “the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is the perfect habitat for Muslims and everybody else, and all you heard about the Uyghur genocide perpetrated by the CCP is a gross lie.” The ‘truth’ – ‘her truth’ – was published in an article entitled “Mon” Xinjiang: halte à la tyrannie des fake news (“‘My’ Xinjiang: Stop the Fake News Tyranny”), published on March 28 on the French web site of China Global Television Network (CGTN).

 

CGTN is a 24/24 all-news tv channel in six languages, registered under the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and controlled by CCP’s Central Committee Publicity Department. The author of the article is introduced as “Ms. Laurène Beaumond,” “an independent journalist based in France, holding a degree in art history and another in archeology from la Sorbonne-IV, as well as an MA in journalism,”

 

Marco Respinti writes in Bitter Winter that “her article of March 28 of course mentions, in passing, “terrorism,” but basically hers is a fairy-tale Xinjiang where everybody is happy and loves the Chinese Communist Party. ‘Laurène Beaumond’ plays the smiling, good cop. The bad cop is played by a four-parts propaganda “documentary” by a “state broadcaster” that “blames ‘terrorist threats’ to justify the clampdown on Uyghurs in region”, as the Financial Times clearly put it.”

 

Laurène Beaumond goes on hiding her real identity, claiming that she does not want to be harassed “by the media sphere” critical of China’s Xinjiang policy.

 

Noteworthy is that her Twitter account was suspended for violating Twitter rules.

 

Prof. Golley, an Oxonian Dphil (i.e., Ph.D.) in Economics, directs the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University in Canberra. On April 21 she led the panel for a symposium, The China Crisis, hosted at the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra and designed to launch the China Story Yearbook 2020, precisely entitled Crisis. The China Story Yearbook is both a blog and a series of annual themed overviews of Chinese current affairs. Prof. Golley is one of its co-editors. In an article published by Bitter Winter titled “Xinjiang Genocide: An Anonymous ‘Scholarly Article’ Echoes CCP’s Lies”, Marco Respinti stresses “Prof. Golley said that the figure of 1 million people detained in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)’s dreadful transformation through education camps is exaggerated.

 

As proof of this exaggeration, Prof. Golley referred to a “scholarly article” the authors of which sent her anonymously. On the basis of this anonymous “scholarly article”, she told the world that dozens of signed and independent pieces of research, supported by respected international organizations, parliaments, and governments, rely on false information. In an interview after the symposium, she admitted that she had received the article “via a former Australian ambassador to China, whom she declined to name, and said she had consulted two other colleagues before going public.”

Palestine Solidarité, Le Grand Soir and others

Marco Respinti also identified two other propagandists: the news web portal, in French, Palestine Solidarité (“Solidarity with Palestine”), which reprinted the article by Laurène Beaumond as well as the CGTN’s self-defense of April 1 from a French leftist web site, Le Grand Soir. In spite of an entire section dedicated to religion, mainly featuring IslamPalestine Solidarité shows no solidarity for the Muslims (Uyghurs and other Turkic people) persecuted by the CCP (held dear by Le Grand Soir) in Xinjiang, Respinti commented. Last but not least, Respinti also pointed at Italy’s best-selling conservative newspaper il Giornale which published a propaganda article Così la Cina combatte il terrorismo nello Xinjiang (How China fights against terrorism in Xinjiang), probably not for free, by Cinitalia, the official bilingual media outlet owned by state China Media Group, of which CCP’s CGTN is a division.

HRWF identified a CCP’s policy propagandist in Brussels

Human Rights Without Frontiers also identified a CCP’s policy propagandist who tried to instrumentalize a well-known media outlet in Brussels and the Center for Information and Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organizations (CIAOSN) under the Ministry of Justice of the Belgian Federal Government.

Roland Delcourt recently said he interviewed a spokesperson of the Center, and published an article on 1 May about this meeting in an online media outlet covering EU issues in Brussels which was quickly removed from its website for failing to meet journalistic ethics and the General Data Protection Regulation. This article was titled “Beware of false refugees, the cult nature of the Eastern Lightning (The Church of Almighty God).”

 

Delcourt provided the CIAOSN with an 18-page report denouncing allegedly false refugees from China who belong to The Church of Almighty God. In his article, he wrote:

“According to the information from the report, the worship of the Eastern Lightning (The Church of Almighty God) corresponds to the very definition of a harmful sect. The Center would therefore give an unfavourable opinion to the Immigration Office in the event that individuals presenting themselves as a member of the sect would request political or other asylum.”

The manipulation strategy was obvious. The interview about the activities of the CIAOSN was just a vicious pretext to manipulate the Belgian state institution and convince it that the CAG was a harmful cult whose members should be denied asylum and sent back to China, where they would of course be arrested and imprisoned. I assume that the CIAOSN will not be deceived by this gross attempt of manipulation and will refrain from playing in the hands of China’s propagandists.

 

HRWF personally knows those refugees in Belgium and has interviewed them. There are only 11 of them. They are all young people in their 20s, mainly girls. They are neither dangerous nor harmful.

 

This is not the first time that China tries to use anti-cult organizations to campaign against the CAG. The best-known example is the organization of Ms Oh in South Korea where over 1000 CAG applications for asylum have been rejected.

In early May, CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions founded in 1988) published a 135-page  issue of its scholarly magazine about the administrative and legal management of The Church of Almighty God Asylum Cases from 2015 to 2021 in Europe and other continents. This extremely well documented report was written by Massimo Introvigne (CESNUR), James Richardson (University of Nevada, Reno, USA) and Rosita Šorytė (International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees). Thousands of members of the CAG have escaped China, where they are heavily persecuted, to seek asylum abroad. Their asylum cases offer a unique opportunity for a comparative study of how religion-based refugee claims are dealt with by administrative authorities and courts of law in several different countries. The article examines and summarizes 271 decisions rendered in CAG asylum cases throughout the world, and analyzes the main issues that led to grant or deny asylum.

Roland Delcourt, a 76-year-old Belgian citizen, presents himself as follows on the website of The Brussels Times: “I am a former student of UCL and the School of Journalism. I got my start in the daily newspaper La Cité. I worked with the Iranian press before the revolution and then in Belgium for various women’s magazines. I have been travelling in China since 1999. In 2005, I met my wife, Wang Xu, in Beijing.”

 

He mainly writes on social media and blogs. When Laurène Beaumond was hunted by prominent media all over Europe he immediately flew to her rescue.

 

All his recent articles accessible from open sources reveal his full support for China’s policies, in particular concerning the COVID-19, and whip those who criticize China’s responsibility in the pandemic.





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RUSSIA: Special bimonthly on freedom of religion or belief (16-28.02.2021)

26.02.21 – Defrocked priest Sergy’s pretrial detention extended until end of spring

The Basmanny District Court of Moscow has agreed on a three-month extension of the pretrial arrest of ex-priest Sergy Romanov, charged with several crimes, including inducement to suicide.

“The court has granted the investigator’s petition. Nikolay Romanov’s measure of restraint in the form of remand has been extended until May 28, 2021,” court spokesperson Irina Sofinskaya told  Interfax

Continue reading…

26.02.21 – More than 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses are imprisoned – an anti-record of persecution for practicing one’s faith

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/17.html

By February 25, 2021, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses simultaneously placed in Russian colonies and pre-trial detention centers reached 51. In just 3.5 years after the decision of the Supreme Court to liquidate 396 legal entities of this religion, 230 people in the country went through places of imprisonment.

Continue reading…

26.02.21 – The Kostroma Court of Appeals commuted Sergey and Valeriya Rayman’s strict sentence

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/18.html

On February 26, 2021, the Kostroma Regional Court, having considered the appeal of the Rayman spouses, canceled the longest suspended sentence for faith – 8 and 7 years. Earlier, a lower court found Sergey and Valeriya guilty of organizing and participating in extremist activities.

Continue reading…

25.02.21 – CRIMEA: Muslim meetings for worship main target of “anti-missionary” prosecutions

Of the 13 individuals fined under Russia’s “anti-missionary” laws in 2020 in Russian-occupied Crimea, 10 were imams leading meetings for worship in mosques outside the framework of the Russian-backed Crimean Muslim Board. “What will the state’s next step be?”

Continue reading…

25.02.21 – The case of six Jehovah’s Witnesses from Orenburg is back in court 

Link to full text in Russian:

www.sova-center.ru/misuse/news/persecution/2021/02/d43729/

A court in Orenburg will begin reviewing in March the case of six Jehovah’s Witnesses that had previously been returned to the prosecutor.

In February 2021 the case of six Jehovah’s Witnesses was resubmitted to the Industrial District Court of Orenburg. The first court session was scheduled for March 1.

Continue reading…

24.02.21 – New cases against Jehovah’s Witnesses initiated in Birobidzhan 
One year after the case against Jehovah’s Witness Postnikov was opened, his wife was also persecuted.
24.02.21 – Series of searches in homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Vladimir region
On February 19, 2021, it became known that a series of searches took place in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses followers in Kovrov, Vladimir region.

 

24.02.21 – A 70-year-old Khakasia-based woman was sentenced to two years in a penal colony for practicing her faith. Her son was sentenced to six years in a penal colony. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/16.html

On February 24, 2021, Abakan city court passed an unprecedentedly cruel sentence: for the first time a woman, who is also elderly, was sentenced to imprisonment. For the first time, a person is imprisoned under the milder part of article 282.2 (participation in a banned organization) of the RF Criminal Code. This is the case of Valentina Baranovskaya.

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24.02.21Homes of two Jehovah’s Witnesses in Razdolnoye, a Crimean village, were searched. A religious book was planted in the home of a 72-year-old believer

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/15.html

On February 10, 2021, in the village of Razdolnoye (Razdolnensky District, Crimea), security forces examined the homes of two local Jehovah’s Witnesses: Andrey Rogutskiy and Lyudmila Shevchenko. Bibles, notebooks, electronic devices were confiscated from believers.

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24.02.21 – The Russian Foreign Ministry claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to practice their religion in groups. Why then are there dozens of believers that are imprisoned?

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/14.html

“Members of a liquidated organization may worship independently, including as part of religious groups that do not require registration…” the Russian Foreign Ministry response, dated 20 February 2021, reads.

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19.02.21 – Vladimir region siloviki join in religious persecution. A series of searches took place in Kovrov

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/13.html

On February 17, 2021, believers from the Kovrov city reported searches that had taken place at least at 6 addresses. 14 people were detained and taken away for interrogation, including elderly ones. Details are being clarified.

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17.02.21 – RUSSIA: Early release applications denied

Six Jehovah’s Witnesses jailed on “extremism”-related charges applied for early release after serving half their jail terms, but have been unsuccessful. Prison administrations opposed the applications with what Jehovah’s Witnesses describe as “fabricated evidence” of violations of prison rules.

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16.02.21 – New searches of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Kemerovo region. A 53-year-old believer was detained; the court will be deciding which restrictions to place on him

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/9.html

On Sunday, February 14, 2021, at least six Jehovah’s Witnesses were searched in the city of Belovo (Kemerovo region). Sergey Ananin, 53, was detained and taken to a temporary detention center.

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