Russia jails Jehovah’s Witness for six years
Russian authorities have sentenced a Jehovah’s Witness to six years in prison as Moscow ramps up a crackdown against the US-based religious movement.
Russia outlawed the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017, calling it an extremist organisation.
Sergei Klimov was convicted of being an organiser of an “extremist” group, a spokesperson for the Oktyabrsky district court in the western Siberian city of Tomsk, Olga Shevtsova, said on Tuesday.
“The sentence was handed down today,” she said.
It was the harshest penalty meted out by a Russian court so far against a Russian member of the religious movement.
In a case that drew worldwide condemnation, a Danish Jehovah’s Witness, Dennis Christensen, was sentenced in February to six years in a Russian prison for “extremism”.
In September, a court in the western city of Saratov sentenced six Jehovah’s Witnesses to between two and 3½ years in prison.
Moscow has waged a crackdown against the religious organisation even though Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that its members should not be seen as terrorists.
Founded in the US in the late 19th century, the non-violent movement has often faced problems for members’ proselytisation and refusal to salute state symbols such as flags. — AFP