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  2. The Kirov Court extended the arrest of five members of Jehovah's Witnesses until February 3

The Kirov Court extended the arrest of five members of Jehovah's Witnesses until February 3

The Kirov Court left five members of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization [an organization recognized as extremist and banned in Russia], accused of financing extremist activities and organizing a religious extremist association, in the SIZO until February 3. The lawyer of the believers said that they even did not agree to place a man with serious diseases under house arrest.

According to the representative of the regional administration of the Investigation Committee, Maria Merkulova, all five are in the status of the accused, "investigations are being carried out in order to collect and consolidate the full evidence base in this case".

The lawyer Egiazar Chernikov, who represents the interests of the arrested, said «7x7» that during the meeting on the extension of the preventive measure, the Polish consul was present. One of the arrested members of Jehovah's Witnesses is a citizen of that country.

"The consul was present until the very end of the meeting, he showed interest. We asked the court to allow a citizen of Poland to at least greet his compatriot, but the court did not allow it," explained Chernikov.

The decision to extend the arrest was made by Timur Yusupov, judge of the Pervomaisky District Court of Kirov. According to the lawyer, one of those arrested has a number of serious diseases, because of which a man cannot be on his feet for more than an hour, he must necessarily sit or lie down.

"We asked to choose for him a measure of restraint in the form of house arrest, but the court did not take into account any arguments. Even the fact that he has a dependent wife and daughter, both with disabilities. The court is indifferent to these circumstances, although the plenum of the Supreme Court prescribes that when making such decisions, one must take into account the marital status of the arrested person and the state of his health. It is also difficult to transfer meds for the rest of those arrested," said the defender.

Chernikov specified that the Kirov members of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization are accused of financing extremist activities and the organization of a religious extremist association. They were not charged with possession of weapons because of the grenades and mines found during the arrest: an examination showed that they were not weapons.

The lawyer has already filed an appeal against the decision to extend the arrest to the regional court.

The Supreme Court of Russia recognized the management center of Jehovah's Witnesses and its regional offices as extremist organizations in 2017. In different regions, representatives of this organization are prosecuted for missionary activity.

In Kirov, a criminal case on the creation of an extremist organization was initiated in October 2018. Five men from 25 to 60 years old were arrested; on October 12, they were arrested for two months. The report of the Investigation Committee states that those involved in the case gathered in the apartments of followers of their faith, sang biblical songs, improved their missionary skills, and studied religious literature — the Scripture, which is on the list of extremist materials. Besides, the investigation believes that members of the organization collected 500 thousand rubles for the rental of premises, the purchase of equipment and the transfer of money to the leaders of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

Irina Shabalina, «7x7»


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