The Sosnovoborsk City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory sentenced 56-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Yuri Yakovlev to six years in prison on charges of organizing the activities of an extremist organization (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). This is reported by the portal “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia”.
Yakovlev was accused of holding Jehovah’s Witnesses’ online worship services after the organization was banned in 2017. Earlier, a representative of the prosecutor’s office requested eight years in prison for the believer.
“It is insulting to expect that after the liquidation of a legal entity, believers will hold services exclusively within the framework of other religious directions,” Yakovlev commented on the claims of the security forces.
The case against the believer was opened on March 28, 2022. The next day, his house and four other homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sosnovoborsk were searched. On March 30, Yakovlev was taken into custody. In June, the court began to consider the case on the merits.
Yuri Yakovlev has already become the tenth Jehovah’s Witness from the Krasnodar Territory convicted of religious activities. A total of 29 Jehovah’s Witnesses faced persecution for their religious beliefs in this region.
The religious organization Jehovah’s Witnesses was recognized as extremist in Russia and its activities were banned in 2017. According to believers, about 650 people were prosecuted, and the security forces conducted almost 1,800 searches across the country. In November 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that the worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be considered the activities of an extremist organization.
In June 2022, the European Court of Human Rights declared the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and their persecution illegal, ordered the convicted believers to be released and paid 63 million euros to them.
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