Russia Jails Jehovah's Witness Adherent,Vladimir Alushkin For Six Years For Being An Extremist

8 months ago by: Olusanya Akinrinola
-- (m) at 14-12-2019 09:02AM

(6610 | Gistmaniac)

A Russian court jailed a Jehovah’s Witness adherent for six years on Friday after finding him guilty of extremist activity, part of a crackdown on the group that human rights activists say violates religious freedom.

A court in Penza, around 350 miles (563 km) southeast of Moscow, said in a statement it had jailed Vladimir Alushkin, 55, after an investigation had shown he was continuing to run a local branch of the U.S.-headquartered Christian denomination despite the group being outlawed as extremist in Russia.

It said it had also handed suspended two-year prison sentences to five other adherents.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been under pressure for years in Russia, where the dominant Orthodox Church is championed by President Vladimir Putin. Orthodox scholars have cast them as a dangerous foreign sect that erodes state institutions and traditional values, allegations they reject.

“Vladimir’s six-year prison sentence is one of the harshest imposed on one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since the 2017 ban,” said Jarrod Lopes, a spokesman for the group.

“Russian authorities have remained obstinate in the face of repeated criticism from prominent international bodies and human rights advocates. The current state of religious freedom in Russia is reminiscent of Soviet times.”