Danil Suvorov, sentenced on charges of extremism. Screenshot of a website that collects information about criminal cases against Jehovah's Witnesses *

09 May 2024, 17:05

Verdict to Jehovah's Witness* Suvorov from Sochi upheld

The appellate instance has denied the appeal complaint against the sentence of Jehovah's Witness* from Sochi, Danil Suvorov, who was sentenced to six years in penal colony on charges of extremism.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that in June 2023, a court in Sochi sentenced Danil Suvorov, a Jehovah's Witness*, to six years in jail, treating him as a member of an extremist organization. He explained that he was just talking about his faith.

Danil, who was then 25 years old, was arrested in August 2021. According to investigators, "by using his authority as a spiritual leader," he persuaded people to participate in activities of Jehovah's Witnesses*.

The Krasnodar Territorial Court has upheld Suvorov's sentence, the human rights project "OVD-Info"** has informed.

His defence has pointed out that the decision to ban the organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses* did not oblige the believers, including the defendant, to renounce their faith. Thus, according to the defence, Suvorov was convicted "only because he remained a believer after the liquidation of legal entities," the website covering believers' persecutions has stated.

The defence has also referred to the provision of the Constitution of the Russian Federation that Russia is a secular state in which religious associations are equal before the law. "The law does not establish any standards regarding which forms of religious practice are correct and which are not. Therefore, each religion has its own ones ... for the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, this is a joint discussion of the Bible with people, whether at home or in the street," a quote from complaint says.

The case is based on the testimony of a man who called Danil in 2020 and asked for a "Bible study." Suvorov has explained that this was a free and friendly communication.

*396 Russian organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses are recognized as extremist, and their activities in Russia are banned by court's decision.

**Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 8, 2024 at 02:58 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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