Suat Abdullaeva, wife of Arsen Abdullaev, September 25, 2019. Photo by Rasul Magomedov for the Caucasian Knot

25 September 2019, 21:12

Defence compares arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses in Dagestan with Soviet practice

The ban on Jehovah's Witnesses* as a religious organization is no basis for persecuting for faith, but law enforcers ignore it, Maxim Pervunin, a lawyer for four Dagestani believers, has stated at a press conference today. He pointed to parallels of persecutions of Jehovah's Witnesses in modern Russia with the Soviet-time practices.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 1, searches were conducted in four cities of Dagestan. Law enforcers detained and placed behind bars four Jehovah's Witnesses, Arsen Abdullaev, Maria Karpova, Anton Dergalyov and Marat Abdulgalimov. Their relatives and friends claim that charges of extremism have been brought against peace-loving and law-abiding people.

In modern Russia, the persecution history of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Soviet Union is repeated, Maxim Pervunin said at a press conference. He has noted that the methodology for proving guilt, which is now used by investigative bodies, remains largely the same. However, Mr Pervunin expressed hope that in future believers will be rehabilitated, as it already happened in the USSR.

Speaking about the Dagestani case of Jehovah's Witnesses, the advocate has stated that the investigator failed to provide the court with any single proof of the defendants' guilt.

In total, according to Maxim Pervunin, about 250 criminal cases have been instituted in Russia against Jehovah's Witnesses; 130 believers have been detained; 37 of them stay behind bars. "All the detentions and arrests have been caused only by the fact that they practice their religion. But this is a human rights violation of," Mr Pervunin has stated.

* 396 Russian organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses have been recognized as extremist; their activities in Russia are prohibited by the court judgement.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 25, 2019 at 06:39 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Rasul Magomedov; Source: CK correspondent

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