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SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
RUSSIA

Brother Yuriy Zalipayev Faces Two Years in Prison in Russia

Brother Yuriy Zalipayev Faces Two Years in Prison in Russia

Scheduled Verdict

On October 7, 2020, * the Mayskiy District Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic is scheduled to announce its verdict in the case involving Brother Yuriy Zalipayev. He faces two years in prison.

Profile

Yuriy Zalipayev

  • Born: 1962 (Samara)

  • Biography: Has worked as a welder and a truck driver. Likes poetry and hiking

  • In 1983 married Natalia, a former childhood classmate. Ten years later, began studying the Bible together. They have three children. All serve Jehovah, along with a few extended family members

Case History

On August 20, 2016, law-enforcement officers raided a Kingdom Hall in Mayskiy and planted some of our literature that had been banned as “extremist.” Although the brothers had video footage to prove that the literature was planted, a court fined the local religious organization 200,000 rubles ($2,634 U.S.) for the so-called violation. Several months later, a criminal case was initiated against Brother Zalipayev based on this incident.

The prosecution claims that Brother Zalipayev distributed banned literature and encouraged other Jehovah’s Witnesses to commit violent acts against members of other religions. These charges fall under “public calls for extremist activities” (Part 1 of Article 280 of Russia’s Criminal Code).

Court hearings began on June 21, 2020. Throughout the trial, it has not been uncommon for the prosecution’s witnesses to contradict one another or undermine their own accusations. For example, as the hearings progressed it became known that some of the witnesses who claimed to have heard Brother Zalipayev incite others to violence were not even present at the meetings where he was alleged to have done so. Additionally, some of the prosecution’s witnesses testified that the banned literature discovered in the Kingdom Hall had been planted by the authorities.

As Brother Zalipayev awaits his verdict, our prayer is that he, along with his family, will gain strength and peace from David’s words: “Jehovah is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts. I have received his help, and my heart rejoices.”—Psalm 28:7.

^ par. 3 Subject to change