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ReligionFORBRussia, Jehovah’s Witness Tatyana Piskareva, 67, sentenced to 2 years and 6...

Russia, Jehovah’s Witness Tatyana Piskareva, 67, sentenced to 2 years and 6 months of forced labor

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Willy Fautre
Willy Fautrehttps://www.hrwf.eu
Willy Fautré, former chargé de mission at the Cabinet of the Belgian Ministry of Education and at the Belgian Parliament. He is the director of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), an NGO based in Brussels that he founded in December 1988. His organization defends human rights in general with a special focus on ethnic and religious minorities, freedom of expression, women’s rights and LGBT people. HRWF is independent from any political movement and any religion. Fautré has carried out fact-finding missions on human rights in more than 25 countries, including in perilous regions such as in Iraq, in Sandinist Nicaragua or in Maoist held territories of Nepal. He is a lecturer in universities in the field of human rights. He has published many articles in university journals about relations between state and religions. He is a member of the Press Club in Brussels. He is a human rights advocate at the UN, the European Parliament and the OSCE.

She was just participating in a religious worship online. Earlier, her husband Vladimir received six years in prison on similar charges.

Tatyana Piskareva, a pensioner from Oryol, was found guilty of participating in the activities of an “extremist” organization because of her faith. On March 1, 2024, Dmitriy Sukhov, judge of the Sovetskiy District Court of Oryol, sentenced her to 2 years and 6 months of forced labor.

Her case is part of the persecution of other family members: Tatyana’s husband, Vladimir, received 6 years in prison under an anti-extremism article of the criminal code and is now awaiting an appeal. He was arrested after searches in December 2020 and has been behind bars ever since. There he suffered several hypertension crises and a stroke; he was diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Tatyana said: “I wanted to help my husband when he had a crisis, and I could not help in any way. It was painful to watch the inaction of the pre-trial detention center.”

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a case against Piskareva in October 2021. She was accused of participating in worship services via a video conference. The trial began a year and a half later. At the hearing, it turned out that 11 of the 13 prosecution witnesses did not know the believer.

“I love all people regardless of their nationality, race, color and language, religion and other beliefs. I hate extremism in any of its manifestations,” Tatyana said during the trial. “I am a Jehovah’s Witness, and this is not a crime.” The decision of the court may be appealed in higher instances.

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