2020-12-24 10:16:00

Jehovah's Witness from Rostov-on-Don given suspended sentence

Rostov-on-Don, December 23, Interfax - The Leninsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don has handed down a sentence to Semyon Baibak, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization banned in Russia, the Memorial human rights center said.

The offender was given a suspended sentence of three and a half years with a probation period of four and a half years and a year of restriction of freedom for participating in the activities of an extremist organization and its funding.

"The defendant spent one year and a half under house arrest. Now he is forbidden to leave his home from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Moscow Time, to visit stores where alcoholic beverages are sold, it is forbidden for him to travel outside Rostov-on-Don," the statement said.

Baibak also cannot change his place of residence and place of work; he is ordered to appear twice a month at the supervisory authority for registration.

Investigators said, that from June 27, 2018 to May 17, 2019, Baibak, "being informed, including from the media, about the liquidation of the organization, and with intent to involve in the activities of the extremist organization [...] took part in the activities of the Rostov-on-Don branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization."

According to the materials of the case, the defendant was engaged, among other things, in raising donations and conducting conversations in order to promote the activities of the organization.

A criminal case against Baibak and another believer, Ruslan Alyyev, was opened on June 6, 2019. They were accused of participating in the activities of the extremist organization, but in November 2019, Baibak was also charged with financing extremist activities. On June 10, 2019, they were placed under house arrest.

On December 18, 2020, Alyyev was given a suspended sentence of two and a half years.

In April 2017, the Russian Supreme Court designated the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia as an extremist organization and shut it down. In August of the same year, all communities of Jehovah's Witnesses were added to the list of banned extremist organizations.