Sergey Alyoshkin, Dorzhi Nuskhinov, Tsagan Khalgaeva, Ekaterina Menkova, Evgenia Smelova, Kishta Tutinova (from left to right). June 5, 2024. Photo by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent

07 June 2024, 18:37

Defence of Kalmyk Jehovah's Witnesses* points to unproved accusations

The prosecutor has demanded from the Elista court to find Jehovah's Witnesses* Kishta Tutinova, Tsagan Khalgaeva and Ekaterina Menkova guilty of extremism and sentence them to various suspended (conditional) prison terms. The defence has demanded to acquit the defendants.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on June 5, about 30 people from different regions came to the debate on the case of the above three Jehovah's Witnesses* from Elista, accused of extremist activities.

Evgenia Smelova, Tutinova's advocate, has stated that the above three were placed in the prisoners' dock for their religious views.

"The Russian Supreme Court (SC) has not prohibited studying the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses*, as well as the use of video communications for prayers and talks about God. Charging my client with worshiping as an illegal activity is an absolute violation of the Constitution," the advocate has stated.

Besides, the prosecution has failed to specify any particular Tutinova's actions that posed a threat to Russia's security.

The court has liquidated the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses* in the city of Elista, but it hasn't not and could not ban the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses* and the right of citizens to practice it, Sergey Alyoshkin, another advocate, has emphasized.

By enjoying her constitutional rights, Menkova professed the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses*, read the Bible, discussed it with others, prayed to God, talked with other people about her faith, and she did this without being a member of any organization, the advocate has added.

Menkova's activities were peaceful and did not incite any violence or religious hatred. "She believes in Jehovah God and lived in accordance with her beliefs, this is not a crime," Sergey Alyoshkin has summed up.

"The fact that I read the Bible and discuss it with other people, on the contrary, helped me get rid of bad attitudes towards other people or their views," Kishta Tutinova has noted in her last plea.

*396 Russian organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses are recognized as extremist, and their activities in Russia are banned by court's decision.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 6, 2024 at 07:38 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: СK correspondent

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