Supreme Court of Russia decidedthat the joint worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses should not be considered extremist activity. On the corresponding resolution of the plenum of the Armed Forces noticed the members of the religious organization themselves.
According to the decree, dated October 28, an amendment is made to the decision of the Supreme Court “On judicial practice in criminal cases on crimes of an extremist nature.”
The document says that if the organization is recognized by the court as extremist and is subject to liquidation, then “the subsequent actions of persons not related to the continuation or resumption of the activities of the extremist organization and consisting solely in the exercise of their right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, if they do not contain signs of extremism, do not form corpus delicti ”.
Also, according to the decision of the plenum, the court will henceforth have to establish “what specific socially dangerous actions were committed by the guilty person, their significance for the continuation or resumption of the activities of the organization, in respect of which the court adopted and entered into legal force a decision on the liquidation or prohibition of activities in connection with the implementation of extremism, as well as the motives for committing these actions. ”
That is, the investigation will need to present the court with specific illegal acts, justifications for the wording that constantly appear in the indictments: “realizing criminal intentions”, “acting from extremist motives”, “realizing the illegal nature of their actions” and so on. When considering appeals on existing decisions, the courts will be obliged to take into account the new decision of the plenum.
Jehovah’s Witnesses were included in the list of organizations liquidated for extremism on August 16, 2017. According to the human rights center “Memorial”, as of October 25 under Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, 539 believers are persecuted. At least 31 of them were sentenced to real terms of imprisonment, and 41 are being held in pre-trial detention centers.
Believers receive significant sentences. One of them is 70-year-old Valentina Baranovskaya, who is serving a two-year sentence in a colony. During her imprisonment, she suffered a stroke.
October 26 in Astrakhan three Jehovah’s Witnesses got 8 years in prison. Puppet theater actor Rustam Diarov, builder Yevgeny Ivanov and welder Sergei Klikunov were accused of creating an extremist organization and raising funds for its work. Ivanov’s wife Olga was accused of being an accomplice. As part of the investigation, officers of the FSB, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted 27 searches.
October 22 In Sevastopol, the court sentenced Jehovah’s Witness Igor Schmidt to six years in prison. Schmidt was found guilty of “organizing the activities of an extremist organization.” The state prosecution demanded seven years in prison for him.
October 12 in the Kuban of 59-year-old Jehovah’s Witness with a disability Vladimir Skachidub sentenced by the age of 4 in the colony. During the hearing, the prosecution was unable to present a single evidence of the believer’s dangerous acts and not a single victim.