The Pavlovsky District Court of the Krasnodar Territory passed a sentence to 59-year-old disabled Vladimir Skachidub, who is a member of the community of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization. The Russian authorities recognized her as extremist.
The court appointed Skachiduba four years and two months in prison in a general regime colony, informs site “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia”.
In the last word, the defendant declared his innocence. “My conscience is clear. I have not done any harm either against people or against the state. And in the eyes of God, I will come out of here justified, ”he said.
During the hearing, the prosecution “was unable to present a single proof of the dangerous acts of the believer and not a single victim,” the religious organization said in a statement.
Skachiduba was found guilty of involving people in the activities of an extremist organization (part 1.1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code) and participation in such an organization (part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code). The court site has card cases with such articles, but the name of the accused is not indicated in it. The case was considered by judge Olga Marchenko.
On April 29, 2020, the security forces came to search the house of Skachidub. Two months later, FSB officers opened a criminal case against him. The investigation called the meetings of believers and conversations on biblical topics “dangerous for society and the state.” Investigator Vitaliy Veter accused Skachidub of “realizing the criminal nature and social danger of his actions … fulfilling the role of a preacher.” As a measure of restraint, the believer was given a recognizance not to leave the place.
The report notes that Skachidub is a disabled person of the III group, and his wife Galina is a disabled person of the II group. During the period of criminal prosecution, the health of the spouses worsened.
In total, 11 criminal cases were initiated in the Krasnodar Territory against 16 followers of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Five of them have already been convicted and received real terms. The most severe punishment – 7.5 years in a colony – was imposed on the 63-year-old resident of the village of Kholmskaya, Alexander Ivshin.
On October 11, the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses reported that the security forces used torture against the Irkutsk believers. Thus, the search of 31-year-old Anatoly Razdabarov’s house and his interrogation lasted more than 8 hours. Special forces officers “Thunder” and the National Guard knocked the suspect to the floor, fastened handcuffs behind his back, kicked him on the head and in the kidney area. After that, they lifted Razdabarov by the hands, which were fastened behind his back, and beat him on the hands, demanding that he provide access to information on the phone.
“Then, as part of the intimidation strategy, employees simulated rape by pushing a glass bottle into the buttocks area,” the association said in a statement. quoted OVD-Info.
On April 20, 2017, the Russian Supreme Court ruled on recognizing the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist organization. Since then, hundreds of supporters of the religious organization have been prosecuted and some of them tortured. The Human Rights Center Memorial noted that the court’s decision “did not cite a single fact of violation of public order by believers, manifestations of aggression or violence on their part, or evidence that their activities threatened the security of the Russian Federation”.
A comprehensive linguistic and religious forensic examination conducted earlier at the request of the prosecutor’s office stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses were using an “extremist” translation of the Bible. They also allegedly consider it necessary to overthrow the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, since “they believe in the depravity of the current state of affairs, the coming end of the world, the victory of Jesus over the devil who conquered the world, the accession of Jesus and the beginning of a new world order.”
Experts considered the criticism of the Catholic Church as a sign of incitement to religious hatred, in which the Jehovah’s Witnesses brochure on science, an article about Galilee, says that the Catholic Inquisition had sentenced him to life imprisonment unjustly and Pope John Paul II admitted it. And the belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses that God shed fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, and that new disasters await the world at the end of the world, is interpreted by experts as a call for “genocide, mass repression, the establishment of inequality, discrimination, and the commission of hate crimes.” reported information and analytical center “SOVA”.
For several years of persecution, more than 500 people have been prosecuted. The oldest defendants in the extremism case were 90-year-old Rimma Vashchenko from Nevinnomyssk and 86-year-old Elena Zaishchuk from Vladivostok. Hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses were included in the list of extremists and terrorists of Rosfinmonitoring. Because of this, they lost the opportunity to work, receive a pension, and use bank accounts.