Legal Case of the Week: Jehovah’s Witness charged with extremism acquitted by court in Vladivostok

Week-ending 26 November 2021

On 22 November 2021 a court in Vladivostok acquitted Dmitry Barmakin, a Jehovah’s Witness, of charges of extremism in the first such acquittal for a member of the faith since the group was banned and designated ‘extremist’ in 2017. Barmakin had been arrested on extremism charges in July 2018. At the end of October 2021 the Supreme Court ruled that members of a faith whose organisations have been banned for extremism were not guilty of extremism for conducting joint prayers. Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was quoted by The Moscow Times as saying: “We are grateful to Judge Stanislav Salnikov for his strength and his sound approach to the case. Of course, it is not easy to be the first judge to interrupt a continuous chain of guilty verdicts and deliver a verdict of acquittal. We hope that all Russian courts in their decisions on cases involving Jehovah’s Witnesses will be guided by the decision of the Plenum of the Russian Supreme Court,”


The Moscow Times, 23 November 2021: A Russian Jehovah’s witness has been acquitted of extremism for the first time since the country banned the religious group in 2017, the organization said Monday. A court in the Far East capital of Vladivostok issued the not-guilty verdict less than a month after Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that joint prayers among members of banned religious organizations “do not contain elements of extremism.”

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