128 more Jehovah’s Witnesses are political prisoners or victims of politically motivated prosecutions

Memorial Human Rights Centre has recognized a further 37 Jehovah’s Witnesses as political prisoners, of whom 17 are in custody and 20 under house arrest.

We have recognized a further 91 believers as victims of politically motivated prosecutions. These individuals are defendants in criminal cases, but have been given bail.

Most of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been charged with organizing the activities of an extremist organization (Article 282.2, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code), participation in such an organization (Article 282.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) or involving others in such activities (Article 282.2, Part 1.1, of the Russian Criminal Code). Some have also been charged with financing extremist activities (Article 282.3, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code).

General Statistics

Altogether in our list of political prisoners there are a total of 88 Jehovah’s Witnesses imprisoned on charges related solely to their religious affiliation. Fifty-four of them are in custody and 34 are under house arrest. Of those in custody, 29 await the outcome of their trials in pre-trial detention and 25 have been sentenced to terms ranging from two to eight years.

Eighty-one Jehovah’s Witnesses have been given suspended sentences and at least 347 others are being prosecuted but are not in custody at the pre-trial or trial stages.

Moreover, according to our information, there are currently:

  • Fifteen Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been sentenced to fines;

  • Thirteen have already served their sentences, of whom two were deprived of their Russian citizenship while serving their sentence and have been deported;

  • Criminal charges against six others have been dropped;

  • A further five Jehovah’s Witnesses have died.

Altogether, at least 555 Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prosecuted during the large-scale campaign of criminal prosecutions against adherents of the faith that began in April 2017. The number continues to grow.

A regularly updated list of those prosecuted is available on our website.

We consider the designation of Jehovah’s Witness organizations as extremist to be groundless and in violation of the rights to freedom of conscience and association. The criminal prosecution of the followers of this peaceful religion is unlawful and discriminatory.

We demand the immediate release of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are in custody or under house arrest and an end to the criminal prosecution of all members of this faith.

Read the full list on our website.