MARCH 30, 2021
On March 29, 2021, the Gagarinskiy District Court of the City of Sevastopol, Crimea, convicted Brother Viktor Stashevskiy and sentenced him to six and a half years in prison. Viktor was immediately taken into custody and then to a detention center. He will appeal the verdict.
Born: 1966 (Kansk, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russia)
Biography: Moved to Sevastopol, Crimea, in 1983. Retired from the navy in 1993. Married his wife, Larisa, in 2002. They have two daughters. Has always been impressed by the complexity and order of the universe and wanted to know the Creator. Studying the Bible has given his life meaning. Baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2004
On June 4, 2019, Federal Security Service (FSB) officers searched ten homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sevastopol. Some of the raids lasted up to four hours. During that time, the FSB officers would not allow the brothers and their families to drink water or use the toilet. The officers also tried to intimidate the brothers, threatening to damage their property and frame them by planting illegal drugs.
As a result of the raids, Brother Viktor Stashevskiy was arrested and detained overnight. He is accused of “being the leader of an extremist organization.” In reality, he is on trial for his religious beliefs, which is a clear violation of his constitutional rights.
Viktor says that a regular routine of Bible reading and meditation has helped him to be courageous and endure with joy. He especially finds strength in King David’s words recorded at Psalm 62:5-8. Through all his trials, Viktor relates: “My relationship with Jehovah became stronger because he has always been beside me and has become closer to me than anyone else. I’ve never had any doubt that Jehovah sees my distress and my desire to remain faithful to him and that, at the right moment, he would come to my defense for the sake of his own great name.”
We know that Jehovah will support and bless Viktor, his family, and all of our brothers and sisters enduring persecution. Jehovah will continue to be their refuge and stronghold.—Psalm 91:2.