“Courts” in Crimea refuse to release “Jehovah’s witness” Filatov under house arrest
The court did not uphold the petition filed by the defense to change the measure of restraint from detention in a pre-trial detention center to house arrest for Serhiy Filatov, a "Jehovah's witness" from Dzhankoy, who had been sentenced to six years.
"Due to the pandemic and restrictive measures implemented on the peninsula, as well as the high risk of coronavirus contraction by the prisoners in pre-trial detention, we decided to file a petition for a change of the measured restraint to a more lenient one: house arrest or a restriction of travel order. After the verdict, we were unaware for some time where the materials of the criminal case were located, so the petition was filed with two courts at a time: Dzhankoy District Court and the Supreme Court of Crimea. However, unfortunately, our arguments were not heard in both instances and Serhiy Filatov remains in jail in Simferopol," lawyer Oleg Zakharchuk said.
On March 5, 2020, the Dzhankoy District court arrested a representative of the "Jehovah's Witnesses" Serhiy Filatov, finding him guilty of organizing the activities of an extremist organization (Part 1 Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code) and imposed on him a sentence of imprisonment for 6 years with deprivation of the right to engage in educational activities, activities related to speeches and publications in the media for 5 years and with restriction of freedom for 1 year and serving a sentence in a correctional colony of general regime.
For "Jehovah's Witnesses" in Crimea, this was the first sentence with arrest for religious beliefs since 2014.
Persecution of "Jehovah's Witnesses" in Russia and Crimea
The Russian Supreme Court in 2017 recognized the religious organization "Jehovah's Witnesses" as an extremist and banned its activities in Russia. Also, the activities of the organization banned in annexed Crimea.
Russia's FSB officers repeatedly conducted searches and detentions on the territory of the peninsula of suspects of participation in the religious organization "Jehovah's Witnesses". According to the memorial human rights center, several dozen adherents of this religious organization have been subjected to criminal prosecution in Russia.
In August 2018, the Memorial human rights center recognized as political prisoners 29 members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious organization accused of extremism in Russia.