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RUSSIA: A SECOND WITNESS OF JEHOVAH AFTER LAS REJAS


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RUSSIA: A SECOND WITNESS OF JEHOVAH AFTER LAS REJAS
On April 10, 2018, police arrived at the home of Anatoliy Vilitkevich, 32, and placed him in custody, accusing him of organizing the activity of an extremist organization. Vilitkevich was simply considering Bible-based publications with a small group of others who were also subjected to searches.

Two days later, the Leninskiy District Court in Ufa (Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia) decided to keep Anatoliy in preventive detention for 1 month and 22 days, that is, until June 2, 2018. Anatoliy faces up to 10 years of prison

Anatoliy is the first Russian Jehovah's Witness to remain in custody since the Supreme Court's prohibition decision of April 20, 2017.

It is unclear why Jehovah's Witnesses in Ufa are being attacked suddenly, but authorities claim to have "volumes" of information against local Witnesses.

Anatoliy's legal team filed an appeal on his arrest on April 16, but was denied three days later.

Dennis Christensen in prison since May 2017

On May 25, 2017, heavily armed police officers and agents of the Federal Security Service (FSB) interrupted a peaceful weekly religious service of Jehovah's Witnesses in Oryol, Russia. Since the authorities there had liquidated the Local Religious Organization Oryol (LRO) in June 2016 on charges of extremism, they alleged that the religious services of the congregation continued the activity of an extremist organization.

The prosecutor initiated criminal charges against Dennis Christensen, one of the elders of the Oryol Congregation, for his role in the religious services of the congregation. The Sovietskiy District Court ordered that Mr. Christensen be kept in preventive detention. His trial is currently in progress.

250 violations of JW's rights in 1 year

Since the Russian Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses a year ago (April 20, 2017), there have been at least 250 violations of the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, including attacks, vandalism and other types of discrimination. Seventeen of its properties have been confiscated, and lawsuits have been initiated to seize 52 other properties.

These more recent raids represent a serious escalation of state-sponsored human rights abuses reminiscent of Soviet repression and Nazi persecution experienced by minority groups in the early days of these previous regimes. Without international awareness, it can be expected that this situation will increase both in severity and frequency in the coming days.

http://hrwf.eu/russia-a-second-jehovahs-witness-behind-bars/

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