Four Chelny residents on the eve of the dock on charges of participating in the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses – a sect two years ago declared extremist in Russia. Their interests are defended by a lawyer from Sergiev Posad, who himself is a follower of this teaching. According to him, some of the documents in the case are allegedly falsified. And, apparently, it may be delayed – the process was postponed until the end of November.
On the eve of the trial, the main trial in the case of “Jehovah's Witnesses”, accused of continuing the activities of an organization that was banned on the territory of Russia and was recognized as extremist, was launched.
CHARGES IN THE CARTON BOX AND THE BIBLE FROM THE SIZO
On the eve of the trial, the main trial in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses, accused of continuing the activities of an organization that was banned on the territory of Russia and was recognized as extremist, began. The fact that the Jehovah’s got to the court could be understood already at the approaches to the Themis building – at least 30 relatives and friends of those involved in the case crowded in a narrow corridor. The bailiffs immediately warned that the conference room would not accommodate everyone. Therefore, the right to attend the process was granted only to those closest to us.
Four Chelnians were on the dock – 38-year-old Ilham Karimov32 year old Vladimir Myakushin31 year old Konstantin Matrashov and 26 year old Aydar Yulmetyev. After searches in 10 apartments of the organization’s adherents last spring, foreign passports and electronic devices were seized from them. The accused spent six months in jail, then the RT Supreme Court softened the measure of restraint, transferring them to house arrest, and in the spring of 2019 took them on their own recognizance.
All persons involved in the case live in Chelny, previously not convicted. Myakushin has a higher education and a wife, Matrashov is not married, works as a locksmith in CNH LLC. 38-year-old Karimov, a native of the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan, has a secondary education, has an 18-year-old stepson with his wife, and Yulmetyev is married, childless, also has a secondary education. All of them were united by love for God and the Bible, one pocket copy of which Karimov even took with him to the meeting. By the way, he, a Tatar by nationality, admitted to a BUSINESS Online correspondent that he began to study the Bible back in 2002, and was baptized two years later. “I studied the Qur'an and the Bible and I believe that the Qur'an often refers to the Bible. There is such a sura where it is paid attention to the fact that we read more ancient books, for example, Torah. And in the Bible they are all collected. Here in my Bible, which I read in the pre-trial detention center, 66 books were collected, ”the defendant explained his choice of religion, pointing his finger at the blue print on the first page of the Holy Book.
The defendants unanimously at the very beginning of the trial stated that they did not receive a copy of the indictment in their hands, and that the receipt from them was allegedly taken by fraud. “I wrote a receipt when under the guise of an indictment, investigator Mironov handed me a document that is not such. There is neither the signature of the prosecutor nor the signature of the investigator. I took the indictment and can bring it to you. This is some kind of draft, not a copy! ”- despite the judge’s objections Dana ShakurovaKarimov was indignant, picking up a 120-page volume. After that, all adherents requested a copy of the indictment with the necessary signatures and seals. The prosecutor Gulnara Nabiullina objected, stating that such requirements are aimed at delaying the trial. However, the judge ruled to partially satisfy the petitions by providing duplicates to the Jehovahs as they were made.
All of them were united by love for God and the Bible, one pocket copy of which Karimov even took with him to the meeting – Photo: Valentina Shisterova
What, in fact, are the claims of state prosecutors to the Chelny Jehovah’s? As the prosecutor voiced, from April 20, 2017 to May 20, 2018, Myakushkin, knowing that his organization was recognized as extremist, together with accomplices with the aim of violating the rights and freedoms of the human person, destroying the foundations of the constitutional system contributed to the destruction of physical and mental health that do not recognize the organization’s ideology " Jehovah's Witnesses ”, through persuasion, propaganda of the ideology of an extremist organization, involved the residents of Naberezhnye Chelny in the activities of Jehovah’s. All four are accused of having held meetings in cospirate apartments, which, acting intentionally and purposefully, influenced the religious feelings of the audience, instilled the practical skills necessary in campaigning, delivered lectures, showed videos that propagandize the organization’s activities, and also led members extremist organizations and controlled the execution of their instructions. At the same time, the defendants realized that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization aimed to promote their exceptionalism and superiority in relation to other religious movements, but continued to attract adherents to their ranks, anticipating the onset of socially dangerous consequences and wishing them. Therefore, all four are charged with h. 1, 1.1 and 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code (“Organization of the activities of an extremist organization, recruitment into it and participation in its activities”). Myakushin, in addition, is presented with Art. 282.3 of the Criminal Code (“Fundraising for the activities of an extremist organization”). He collected donations from people involved in the business at least once a week. Jehovah’s cash was brought into a cardboard box, in which 299,096 rubles were eventually collected for the year. At the same time, the accused realized that all the money would be used to finance the unit of Jehovah's Witnesses.
TROLLING FROM JEHOVISTS OR SUFFERING FOR FAITH?
All four pleaded not guilty and hastened to express their attitude to the charges. Matrashov said that he can’t be an extremist in any way, since he has no motive – hatred and hostility to any social group. “I am a believer, in connection with which my religious beliefs are based solely on the Bible. Thanks to her, one can see God's point of view on many things: what is good, what is evil, what is good, what is bad, ”the adherent began to read out his mantra from a piece of paper. The judge, apparently realizing that all participants in the meeting risk becoming participants in a religious sermon for a long time, interrupted him, asking him to be closer to the accusation and not to engage in religious discussions. The Jehovah nodded and continued: “My motives are to love people, be kind and live in peace with everyone. I have good relations with people of different nationalities, social groups. I did not commit acts aimed at inciting hatred or hatred. "I did not argue the need for genocide, mass deportations in relation to a particular religion, nation, race.” Quotes from the Bible followed about what hatred and enmity, brotherly love and love of God … At the same time, Matrashov equated his colleagues with the victims of political repression, recalling that just recently – October 30 – was just the day of their memory. “Everyone remembers what these people went through. Among them were Jehovah's Witnesses. They are rehabilitated. And now the story repeats itself … ”he said.
About the same scenario, the speech of the other accused was composed, which the judge also interrupted several times, urging to speak on the merits. Everyone said as if in a carbon copy that they did not participate in the activities of the management center of Jehovah's Witnesses and its Chelny cell.
All four pleaded not guilty and hastened to express their attitude to the charges – Photo: Valentina Shisterova
Advocate Advocate Dmitry Kolobov (by the way, professing the same ideals) came to the defense of brothers in faith from Sergiev Posad. He explained to BUSINESS Online that the FSB officers allegedly introduced their agent into the collective of believers, who recorded the services for operational filming. Her subject will be understood in a criminal case. However, the defendants, according to the lawyer, became victims of criminal prosecution for faith. “Any believer has the right to pray, read the Bible, get together, sing songs, psalms – this is why these young children are brought to justice. People who do not take up arms and do not participate in wars are turned into extremists. The essence of extremism is a call to violence. How can a person who does not participate in wars and does not pick up weapons be brought to this? There is a misunderstanding of the decisions of the Supreme Court. He did not ban the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. In Russia, all the liturgical buildings of Jehovah's Witnesses have been confiscated by the state. And therefore, except in family circles, believers have nowhere to gather and conduct joint services. But this is not prohibited by the Constitution! And they are attracted for it, ”the defender explained without sermons.
By the way, he also requested to add to the materials several decisions of the ECHR on specific cases in relation to different countries, including Russia. In particular, in many rulings of the ECHR, the issue of blood transfusion has been resolved, which is not recognized by adepts. “This is just a solution to the problem of choosing a treatment method that a citizen can choose for himself. There is a lot of false information in the press that there are certain cases of deaths, including of children. But this information is not true. In particular, on the occasion in Kazan, which was much exaggerated in the media, it was decided to terminate the criminal case, since the child died as a result of a serious illness, and not because of refusal from blood transfusion, ”the lawyer explained.
Another court decision in the case of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community in Moscow states that bloodless treatments will be chosen that are misrepresented as refusing blood transfusion. A competent patient has the right to decide for himself whether he agrees to a transfusion or not. Because there is no unlawful pressure on the part of adherents, the lawyer believes. Especially if such a decision is made in advance, and not at the time of an acute situation. At the same time, the Jehovah’s carry a card in his wallet, drawn up in the form of a medical order. Accordingly, there is no evidence that refusing transfusion was not a decision of its own.
In one of the rulings cited by the lawyer, the highest court drew attention to the prevailing practice in the country of recognition of voluminous works and publications as extremist, no claims were made by either prosecutors or judges. This document is intended to refute the charge that the defendants in Chelny had allegedly used literature that was included in the federal list of extremist materials. To do this, according to the lawyer, indicate the exact statement, source and determine its orientation in the appropriate context.
Another ruling states that the punishment of believers for holding prayer and religious meetings indoors is not only inconsistent with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, but also cannot be considered as a legal decision, and the meetings themselves are protected by Article 9 of the Convention on Human Rights. Also, a violation of the same article is a ban on the joint reading and discussion of liturgical texts. For every believer in Jehovah's Witnesses, holding services and providing premises for this, spreading religious beliefs, observing rites and ceremonies, and collecting donations is a form of lawful behavior that is part of religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Kolobov is sure.
A report of the UN Assembly for September 2018 on the issue of the criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses was also cited – the Russian government indicated that a ban on the activities of this organization does not mean restrictions on the freedom of religion of its supporters. They still have the right to perform their religious rites, if this form does not contradict the norms of the Russian Federation.
Adept lawyer Dmitry Kolobov: “Except in the family circle, believers have nowhere to gather and conduct joint services. But this is not prohibited by the Constitution! And they are attracted for it ”- Photo: Valentina Shisterova
“LATERAL FALSIFICATIONS ARE ALLOWED”
The court session threatened to drag out until late in the evening. However, the same Kolobov cheered up the arguments of yawning participants in the trial. He stated that at the stage of the preliminary investigation there were violations of the law that excluded further judicial investigation, and that the case should be returned to the prosecutor’s office in general. “Glaring falsifications of criminal case materials are allowed. Firstly, the indictment was drawn up in violation of the law, which excludes the possibility of a court ordering a sentence. The decision to attract Myakushin as an accused was falsified by changing his text – pages 37 to 43 were replaced. Initially, he was accused of participating in the activities of a religious organization, now there is a phrase that directed the activities. The same decision indicated that the apartment on Shamil Usmanov Street in the place of residence of Satdarova was replaced by the place of residence of Yulmetyeva. Another apartment was added in which meetings were held [последователей]. Previously, she was not at all. This is the residence of Myakushina. On one sheet appeared a whole episode of the meeting, which previously was not. On the other, a whole phrase is added, namely: “Being followers and adherents of the religious organization“ Jehovah's Witnesses Management Center in Russia ”and local organizations that are part of its structure.” There was no offer before. In addition, the sheets were removed from the decision as the accused Matrashov. According to the same scheme, Yulmetyev and Karimov were falsified, ”said the lawyer.
According to him, he signed each sheet of the decree. On replaced papers, his signature is missing, even the structure of the text is different in color. The defender drew attention to these changes in the materials when the participants began to get acquainted with the case in court. Now the indictment, in his opinion, does not completely correspond to what the defendants were presented with earlier.
Among other things, the lawyer expressed his readiness to present an additional proof of his words to the court – an optical disc with electronic photocopies of previous disappeared materials. At the same time, the defense side asked to call forensic experts to the next meeting to examine the penultimate sheet, preserved from previous decisions, to find out if there is an imprint of the investigator’s signature on the previous, allegedly replaced page, or not. It is easy to see with infrared radiation, said Kolobov.
As a result, the judge decided to postpone the consideration of the case until November 27. After the meeting, the Moscow lawyer said that in his practice “he had not met such falsifications since the 90s.”
In the spring of 2016, law enforcement officers discovered and seized extremist literature in the Chelny office of Jehovah's Witnesses. After that they took on the Scientologists office – Photo: “BUSINESS Online”
DIFFICULT TOPIC AND SANCTIONS OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT
Напомним, что российский минюст 23 марта 2017 года приостановил деятельность религиозной организации «Свидетели Иеговы» в РФ, заподозрив ее в осуществлении экстремистской деятельности. Впоследствии Верховный суд отказался признавать российское представительство религиозной организации жертвой политических репрессий и признал «Управленческий центр Свидетелей Иеговы» экстремистской организацией: с момента вступления приговора в законную силу ее деятельность запрещена, сама организация должна была быть ликвидирована. Под запрет попали как сам управленческий центр, так и 395 входящих в его структуру местных религиозных общин. Религиозная организация пыталась оспорить судебное решение, однако сделать это не удалось.
После начала гонений за иеговистов пытались вступиться на самом высшем уровне. Члены СПЧ неоднократно обсуждали с президентом Владимиром Путиным тему преследования верующих в России, попросив разрешить деятельность саентологов, «Свидетелей Иеговы» и российской православной автономной церкви. В Кремле дали понять, что тема остается на повестке дня, но она нелегкая и будет прорабатываться с учетом вступившего в законную силу решения суда. В конце прошлого года на заседании совета по развитию гражданского общества и правам человека глава государства заявил о необходимости либерализовать отношение к представителям различных религиозных сект.
Челны при этом не единственный город, где продолжается зачистка иеговистов. В Сургуте в начале 2019-го ликвидировали местную ячейку «Свидетелей Иеговы», а в отношении наиболее активных сторонников запрещенной организации завели уголовное дело. Местные СМИ сообщали, что во время допросов в отношении задержанных иеговистов были применены пытки: их якобы били током, душили и избивали, добиваясь показаний. Уже в августе совет по правам человека при президенте представил главе государства доклад по итогам расследования заявлений о пытках. «Сургутское дело» имело последствия в виде санкций, которые ввел госдеп США в отношении сотрудников следственного комитета России по Сургуту Владимира Ермолаева and Степана Ткача. Американские правоохранители заподозрили их в причастности к пыткам членов «Свидетелей Иеговы». Следователям, в частности, запретили въезд в США.
Весной 2016-го в челнинском офисе «Свидетелей Иеговы» сотрудники правоохранительных органов обнаружили и изъяли литературу экстремистского характера. В ходе обыска были якобы найдены и дарственные документы на квартиры и земельные участки, переданные в пользование руководителям организации. Обыски проходили в рамках уголовного дела, которое возбудили в отношении «Свидетелей Иеговы» после того, как умерла одна из последовательниц: онкобольная не соглашалась на операцию из-за возможного переливания крови, которое запрещено по убеждениям иеговистов.
Затем взялись за офис саентологов. Рано утром ОМОН взял его штурмом: спецслужбы обнаружили и изъяли личные данные о последователях Рона Хаббарда. В папках с пометкой «конфиденциально» хранились якобы факты об интимной жизни людей. Известно, что во время так называемых исповедей прихожане откровенничают. О логове саентологов в автограде рассказали тогда даже на одном из федеральных каналов.
Через полгода к челнинским саентологам и «Свидетелям Иеговы» постучалась прокуратура, которая в ходе совместной проверки с пожарными выявила нарушения пожарной безопасности в местах прописки адептов. Иеговисты тогда осуществляли свою деятельность в довольно большом здании в старой части Челнов в переулке Энергетиков. Суд запретил им там собираться. Приют саентологов же был расположен в двух совмещенных нежилых помещениях в доме на Набережночелнинском проспекте, откуда они потом просто съехали в другое здание.
«БИЗНЕС ONLINE», 8 ноября 2019 г.