DECEMBER 11, 2020
On December 16, 2020, * the Leninskiy District Court of Novosibirsk is scheduled to announce its verdict in the case involving Brother Yuriy Savelyev. The prosecutor has asked for Yuriy to be sentenced to eight years in prison. This would be the longest prison term imposed on one of our brothers in Russia since the 2017 Supreme Court ruling.
Born: 1954 (Krokhalyovka, Novosibirsk Region)
Biography: His mother died when he was an infant. Was raised by his sister. Worked as a plumber in an energy plant. Developed an interest in religion after the death of his wife. He found that the Bible provided logical answers to his questions. Was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1996
On November 8, 2018, the police raided his apartment and nine other homes of Witnesses in the Novosibirsk Region. Yuriy was detained and subsequently placed in pretrial detention.
Yuriy is charged with organizing the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city. His pretrial detention has been extended nine times despite multiple appeals for his release. He has spent over two years in prison. Since the 2017 Russian Supreme Court ruling, only Brothers Dennis Christensen and Sergey Klimov have spent more time in prison than Brother Savelyev.
When giving his concluding statement in court on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, Yuriy boldly told the judge: “I have found myself being accused not of a crime, but of being a follower of the religious teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“I have no enemies, and in my almost 67 years of life I have never faced administrative or criminal charges. I have resolved to be politically neutral. In other words, I am against any form of violence, whether it be verbal, psychological, or physical.
“God’s requirements obligate me to treat all people with respect, regardless of class, nationality, or religious conviction.
“God’s Word encourages us also to treat the authorities with respect. In the letter to the Romans 13:1-3, it says in part: ‘Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God.’
“I do not oppose the authorities, because I do not want to be in opposition to God. That is tantamount to death. It’s only because of Jehovah’s Witnesses that I came to know about the one true God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Thanks to them, I was convinced that the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, is a unique book. It touches all areas of our life.”
We are encouraged to hear that Yuriy’s faith is strong, and his countenance reflects that Jehovah has been blessing him with continuous peace.—Isaiah 26:3.
^ par. 3 Subject to change.