Legal Case of the Week: Jehovah’s Witness sentenced to six years in prison in Krasnoyarsk region

Week-ending 18 June 2021

On 17 June a court in Krasnoyarsk region sentenced a Jehovah’s Witness (unnamed in the reports) to six years in prison for organising the activities of an extremist group.


RFE/RL, 17 June 2021: Another Jehovah’s Witness has been handed a lengthy prison term in Siberia amid an ongoing crackdown on the religious group, which has been banned in Russia since 2017. The press service of the regional prosecutor’s office in the Krasnoyarsk region said on June 17 that the Zheleznodorozhny district court had found a 48-year-old local resident guilty of organizing the activities of a banned extremist group and sentenced him to six years in prison.

Other news:

RFE/RL, 14 June 2021: Russian protest artist Pavel Krisevich has been sent to pretrial detention over a so-called “suicide” performance in which he fired blanks from a pistol in Moscow’s Red Square. In a June 13 ruling, Moscow’s Taganka district court ordered Krisevich to be held in pretrial detention for up to two months over his protest — which used a modified handgun that could only fire blanks. Krisevich was detained on June 11 on Moscow’s Red Square and charged with hooliganism after he fired two blanks into the air while shouting: “There will be shots before the Kremlin’s curtain.” He then held the gun to his head and fired another blank.

RFE/RL, 15 June 2021: A court in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar has rejected an appeal against the continued detention of the jailed former executive director of the pro-democracy Open Russia movement, Andrei Pivovarov. The court ruled on June 15 that Pivovarov’s arrest last month was legal and refused to transfer him to house arrest. The activist took part in the hearing via video link from the detention center where he is being held due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CPJ, 15 June 2021: Russian authorities should stop detaining and harassing journalists for their work, and should drop any investigation into reporters Veronika Samusik and Vasiliy Krestyaninov, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 11, Moscow police detained Samusik, a correspondent with the independent news website Sota.Vision, while she was covering a performance by artist Pavel Krisevich in Red Square in support of political prisoners, according to newsreports. Officers in plainclothes stopped Samusik while she was photographing the performance, confiscated her camera’s memory card, and took her to the Kitay-Gorod police station in central Moscow, according to those reports and an interview the journalist gave with the independent broadcaster Dozhd TV.

RFE/RL, 17 June 2021: A Moscow court has sentenced a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot to 15 days in jail on the charge of disobeying police orders. The court issued the ruling against Veronika Nikulshina on June 17 after she refused to go to a police station for questioning. Police told the court they intended to question Nikulshina about whether she was planning any activities to disrupt Euro 2020 soccer events in St. Petersburg.

Meduza, 17 June 2021: On June 17, investigators in St. Petersburg detained local legislator Maxim Reznik on drug charges. According to the investigation, the opposition deputy allegedly purchased several grams of marijuana for personal use. If found guilty of drug possession, he will face up to three years in prison. Investigators pressed charges against Reznik in connection with a criminal case against a relative of his, who was allegedly pressured to testify against him. What’s more, investigators arrested Reznik the day after the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly announced the date for September’s elections to the city parliament. Reznik announced plans to run for re-election back in May. 

RFE/RL, 17 June 2021: A Russian court has ordered an LGBT activist to receive outpatient treatment from a psychiatric clinic over a social-media post he made regarding an explosion at the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the northern city of Arkhangelsk. The Second Western District Military Court in St. Petersburg also fined the activist, Aleksandr Merkulov, 200,000 rubles (about $2,770) on June 17.

CPJ, 17 June 2021: Russian authorities should drop all court proceedings against journalist Yury Dud and ensure that he can work freely and safely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On June 10, the Zyuzinsky District Court in Moscow accepted a lawsuit filed against Dud, who runs the YouTube channel vDud, for allegedly publishing propaganda about drugs in his video interviews, according to newsreports and the court’s website. By accepting the suit, authorities formally opened court proceedings against Dud for allegedly committing a misdemeanor under Russia’s administrative code, according to those reports.

RFE/RL, 18 June 2021: Police in Moscow have detained a municipal lawmaker from the opposition Yabloko party who announced last month that she intends to run in September’s elections for the State Duma. Ketevan Kharaidze was detained late on June 17 after police searched her apartment, according to her election campaign chief Yekaterina Uspenskaya. Uspenskaya said on June 18 that before being taken away for questioning, Kharaidze told her neighbor that police had confiscated her telephone, a computer, and two 5,000 ruble ($70) banknotes found in a pocket of her coat that Kharaidze said she had not put there.

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