Jehovah Witnesses from Crimea prosecuted by Russian occupier


Eastern Europe


Russian law enforcement officers raid a home in Crimea. Photo Facebook, Russia violates freedom of religion in CrimeaHeart of Jehovah's Witnesses

Russian forces have raided the homes of several Jehovah's Witnesses living in Crimea.

They did so with the justification of suspected extremism, Forum 18 reports. The Russian authorities accuse the Jehovah's Witnesses affected by the home raids of continuing activities of a banned organisation. “Believing in God is not punishable, but participating in activities of a forbidden organisation is”, the Russian investigator told Forum 18.

In August, the Russians raided the several homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in Sebastopol. They then seized several electronic devices and arrested two people. In September, Russian forces busted into at least 8 houses, again took several devices and launched criminal investigations.

Currently, 19 Crimean prisoners of conscience are in jail for exercising their religious freedom or face a trial, Forum 18 writes.

Three Jehovah Witnesses from the Russian-occupied Crimea have been sentenced to jail for six years. They are appealing their verdicts, but if they fail, they will likely be sent to prison camps in Russia. The three were sentenced by a Crimean court in October and found guilty of extremist activities, Forum 18 reported last week.

The prosecutor, Valery Yazev, who led the court case against Vladimir Maladyka, Yevgeny Zhukov and Vladimir Sakada, even demanded a heavier sentence. He refused to explain his claim to Forum 18.


The Russian authorities outlawed Jehovah's Witnesses in 2017 by labelling them as 'extremist.' Since that time, many houses of members of the religious groups have been raided by the police, and several Jehovah's Witnesses have been arrested as well. That was reported earlier by CNE.news. Russia also implements these laws in their occupied territories.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the judicial processes against the Jehovah's Witnesses from Crimea. It said in an earlier report that Russia is violating international humanitarian law and human rights. According to the Geneva Convention, prisoners in occupied territory must be sentenced within their own area and fulfil their sentence there.



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