Legal Case of the Week: Two Jehovah’s Witnesses sentenced to long prison terms

Week-ending 2 July 2021

Source: RFE/RL

On 30 June 2021 Blagoveshchensk City Court in Amur region sentenced two Jehovah’s Witnesses, Dmitry Golik and Aleksei Berchuk, to prison terms of seven and eight years respectively.


The Moscow Times, 30 June 2021: A Russian court has handed the country’s longest prison sentence yet to a Jehovah’s Witness, the independent news website MediaZona reported Wednesday.  More than two dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses have been sentenced and scores more are currently in prison or under house arrest since Russia declared the Christian denomination an “extremist” organization in 2017.  Courts began handing out longer prison terms this year, sentencing a Crimean believer to six and a half years in March and a Krasnodar Jehovah’s Witness to seven and a half years in February. The Blagoveshchensk City Court, 7,000 kilometers east of Moscow, found church members Dmitry Golik and Alexei Berchuk guilty of extremism charges and jailed them to seven and eight years, according to MediaZona.

RFE/RL, 30 June 2021: Two members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been handed lengthy prison terms in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk amid an ongoing crackdown on the religious group, which has been banned in Russia since 2017. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ website says 30-year-old Dmitry Golik was sentenced to seven years and 43-year-old Aleksei Berchuk to eight years in prison on June 30.

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