(RNS) — A Jehovah’s Witness in Russia was convicted and sentenced to jail for training his spiritual beliefs Monday (Oct. 11). Vladimir Skachidub, 59, was sentenced to 4 years and two months in jail by the Pavlovsky District Courtroom of Krasnodar Territory.
“I’m a Jehovah’s Witness, and I’m being prosecuted solely for my peaceable spiritual actions. … I face imprisonment just for the truth that I merely exercised my proper to profess faith,” mentioned Skachidub throughout a listening to, in keeping with an announcement from the Jehovah’s Witnesses world headquarters.
Jarrod Lopes, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses, mentioned in an announcement that Skachidub was imprisoned on baseless expenses. Skachidub, who’s disabled, was formally charged as a legal, and a case was opened towards him by the Russian Federal Safety Service in June 2020, after he was found to be preaching his faith. The following month he was added to the federal extremist checklist.
“Imprisoning a peaceable Christian household man like him is a mockery of the rule of legislation,” mentioned Lopes, in his assertion.
There was a crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia’s Krasnodar Territory over the previous 12 months. In April 2020, safety forces raided 9 properties, together with Skachidub’s, within the villages of Pavlovskaya and Kholmskaya. In complete, 5 Jehovah’s Witnesses from this territory have been convicted and imprisoned for training their religion, with probably the most extreme sentence being seven and a half years.
In April 2017, the Russian Supreme Courtroom declared the Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist group, and its members have since confronted elevated policing and surveillance from authorities organizations. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ world headquarters report that on Oct. 4, armed Russian OMON officers, the riot police of Russia’s Nationwide Guard, assaulted and detained two Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout a sequence of residence raids within the Russian metropolis Irkutsk. On Wednesday (Oct. 6), six males who had been detained in the identical sequence of raids had been despatched to a pretrial detention heart for 2 months.
“These repellent circumstances are a stain on Russia and a sign of the additional ethical degradation of its ruling regime,” mentioned Sir Andrew Wooden, former U.Ok. ambassador to Russia, in an announcement supplied to RNS. “No convincing motive has ever been posted for the accusation that Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of an Extremist Group.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses hope Russian authorities will abide by nationwide and worldwide human rights obligations and cease the persecution of its members, mentioned Lopes.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses need nothing greater than to peacefully worship in Russia and Crimea as they do in over 200 different lands,” he mentioned.
This story has been up to date.