Memorial Human Rights Centre: 53 more Jehovah’s Witnesses are political prisoners

posted 9 Oct 2019, 12:37 by Translation Service   [ updated 9 Oct 2019, 12:45 ]
Human Rights Center MEMORIAL9 October 2019

Memorial recognises 53 more Jehovah’s Witnesses who are victims of politically-motivated prosecutions as political prisoners. The total number of Jehovah’s Witnesses currently being prosecuted for their faith has reached 206.

Memorial Human Rights Centre continues to monitor the unlawful criminal prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our list of those prosecuted was previously last updated in May 2019 when 75 Jehovah’s Witnesses from various Russian regions were added to the record.

Memorial Human Rights Centre knows of at least 25 new individuals who have been remanded in custody:
  1. Abdulgalimov, Marat Nazimovich
  2. Abdullaev, Arsen Nazimovich
  3. Avanesov, Arsen Vilenovich
  4. Avanesov, Vilen Shagenovich
  5. Vavilov, Aleksandr Vladimirovich
  6. Vladimirova, Valentina Ivanovna
  7. Galkevich, Tatyana Stepanovna
  8. Deshko, Evgeny Vladimirovich
  9. Dergalev, Anton Olegovich
  10. Egozaryan, Igor Artemovich
  11. Karpova, Mariya Viktorovna
  12. Kuzin, Dmitry Evgenevich
  13. Malkov, Viktor Ivanovich
  14. Makhnev, Roman Sergeevich
  15. Melnik, Sergei Nikolaevich
  16. Melnikov, Sergei Viktorovich
  17. Miretsky, Aleksei Petrovich
  18. Oreshkov, Aleksei Borisovich
  19. Osipov, Vyacheslav Ivanovich
  20. Rogozin, Valery Anatolevich
  21. Parkov, Aleksandr Mikhailovich
  22. Silaeva, Olga Sergeevna
  23. Shalev, Valery Anatolevich
  24. Shamsheva, Tatyana Viktorovna
  25. Yavushkin, Sergei Nikolaevich
Four Jehovah’s Witnesses have been placed under house arrest:
  1. Alyev, Ruslan Ramizovich
  2. Baibak, Semen Olegovich
  3. Bondarchuk, Aleksandr Iosifovich
  4. Korolev, Ruslan Nikolaevich

We have learned that 24 other Jehovah’s Witnesses, who remain at liberty, are being prosecuted for the peaceful profession of their religion:

  1. Abrosimova, Galina Alekseevna
  2. Aksenov, Evgeny Anatolevich
  3. Amosov, Maksim Vladimirovich
  4. Bubnov, Grigory Gennadevich
  5. Verkhoturov, Sergei Vitalevich
  6. Ganin, Aleksandr Vyacheslavovich
  7. Dulova, Darya Igorevna
  8. Eremeev, Maksim Aleksandrovich
  9. Zavrazhnov, Maksim Mikhailovich
  10. Konshin, Oleg Vladimirovich
  11. Leshchenko, Nikolai Grigorevich
  12. Maksimovich, Andrei Nikolaevich
  13. Malyanov, Sergei Ivanovich
  14. Malyanova, Svetlana Sergeevna
  15. Mamykina, Kaleriya Fedorovna
  16. Manushakyan, Vladimir Ivasikovich
  17. Maslov, Dmitry Anatolevich
  18. Metsger, Aleksei Aleksandrovich
  19. Popov, Vitaly Yurevich
  20. Smelov, Aleksei Valerevich
  21. Smirnov, Eduard Olegovich
  22. Stashevsky, Viktor Vladimirovich
  23. Tokarev, Anatoly Mikhailovich
  24. Tsarev, Denis Yurevich
As of 1 October 2019, at least 66 Jehovah’s Witnesses are political prisoners in Russia. Of these, 38 are in custody and 28 are under house arrest. In addition, at least 140 believers are being prosecuted for politically-motivated reasons but have not been remanded in custody; and the prosecution of three believers ended with them being granted an amnesty or given a non-custodial sentence. Since the beginning of widespread repressive measures in April 2018, at least 209 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prosecuted under the criminal law, and this figure continues to rise.

The tendency, observed in the spring of 2019, of a relative slow-down in the rate of increase in the number held in custody had moved into reverse by the beginning of autumn. At the same time, the release of political prisoners held under house arrest on travel restrictions became less frequent. It can therefore be said that the policy of repression against Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious minorities is becoming more severe.

Our list, admittedly incomplete, will be updated as we receive the latest information.

The regularly updated list of those prosecuted for belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses can be read on our website.

In recent months in the course of two trials of Jehovah’s Witnesses, seven defendants have been sentenced:

On 4 July 2019 the Ordzhonikidze district court in the city of Perm fined Aleksandr Solovev 300,000 roubles on charges of ‘participation in an extremist organisation’ (Article 282.2, Section 2, of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 19 September 2019 the Lenin district court in the city of Saratov sentenced six Jehovah’s Witnesses, charged with ‘organising the activity of an extremist organisation’ (Article 282.2, Section 1, of the Russian Criminal Code) to terms in a prison colony from two years to three years and six months. Konstantin Bazhenov and Aleksei Budenchuk were sentenced to three years and six months in a general-regime prison colony; Feliks Makhammadiev was sentenced to three years; and Roman Gridasov, Gennady German and Aleksei Miretsky were sentenced to two years in a general regime prison colony. All those convicted were, in addition, banned from holding leading positions in NGOs for five years and, after release, were to be on probation for one year. The defendants were detained in the courtroom.

We continue to consider the designation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organisations as extremist to be unjustified and in violation both of freedom of conscience and the right of association. The criminal prosecution of followers of this peaceful religion is unlawful and discriminatory.

We continue to consider all Jehovah’s Witnesses held in custody or under house arrest to be political prisoners and urge their immediate release.

We also demand that all charges against Jehovah’s Witnesses, on whom other forms of pre-trial restriction have been imposed, be dropped.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.

You can donate to the Political Prisoners Support Fund of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, to help all political prisoners, via Yandex-Wallet No. 410011205892134 and Sberbank card No. 5469 3800 7023 2177.