CSO of the Week: Two Jehovah’s Witnesses on trial in Kemerovo for belonging to ‘extremist’ organisation

Week-ending 16 April 2021

This week at the trial in Kemerovo of two Jehovah’s Witnesses, Sergei Yavushkin and Aleksandr Bondarchuk, prosecutors asked for the defendants to be sentenced to terms of five years in prison each. They were charged with organising the activities of a group that has been banned as ‘extremist.’ In 2017 the Russian Supreme Court ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses were an ‘extremist organisation’ and banned them in Russia.


RFE/RL, 14 April 2021: Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Kemerovo have asked a court to sentence two Jehovah’s Witnesses to five years in prison each as Russia continues its crackdown on the religious group. The group said the prosecutor had requested the Zavodskoi district court to hand down the jail terms to 60-year-old Sergei Yavushkin and 46-year-old Aleksandr Bondarchuk. The defendants are expected to give their final statements in the trial on April 16, after which Judge Vera Ulyanyuk will announce her decision. The case against Yavushkin and Bondarchuk was launched in July 2019. They were charged with organizing the activities of “a banned, extremist group” and placed under house arrest at the time, because of which they lost their jobs.

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