16 July 2021, 21:24
Three Jehovah's Witnesses given suspended prison sentences in Russia's Sverdlovsk Region
Yekaterinburg, July 16, Interfax - A court in the Sverdlovsk Region has found three local residents guilty of participating in a religious organization banned in Russia due to extremist activities, the press service for the regional investigative directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee said.
"The court gave a man and a woman a suspended sentence of two years in prison. Another defendant was given a suspended sentence of one year behind bars," the press service said.
According to investigators, the accused, knowing that the organization had been banned under a court ruling, continued to participate in it in 2017-2018, conducting missionary activities in Karpinsk, Sverdlovsk Region.
The court found them guilty of participating in the activities of a religious organization in relation to which there is a court ruling in legal force banning it due to extremist activities.
The press service for the regional investigative directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee told Interfax that the organization is the Jehovah's Witnesses (banned in Russia due to extremist activities).
Valery Gorelykh, the head of the press service for the Interior Ministry's Main Directorate for the Sverdlovsk Region, said a group of citizens approached a police officer, who was wearing civilian clothing at the time, on the street and began offering her literature with religious symbols in the summer of 2018. The "sectarians" were eventually detained, and a lot of literature and other informational materials with elements of extremism was found and seized in the process of working with them.
"The police later passed the materials gathered on the members of the sect to the regional Investigative Committee for a procedural decision to be made, and it sent the case to court," Gorelykh said.
The Russian Supreme Court granted a lawsuit from the Justice Ministry and found the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization and banned its activities in the territory of the state in April 2017.