DECEMBER 17, 2020
Includes additional comments by Brother Alyev
On December 17, 2020, the Leninskiy District Court of Rostov-on-Don convicted Brother Ruslan Alyev and imposed a two-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence. He does not have to go to prison at this time.
In the days leading up to the verdict, Ruslan displayed the “peace of God.” (Philippians 4:7) He calmly told his friends: “I’m not particularly worried about the outcome of the criminal process. Everything that God allows will be under his control, and help will arrive right on time. I will serve Jehovah regardless of where I find myself.” Ruslan also knows that his brothers and sisters around the world have been praying for him to loyally endure, which he says has been “a great comfort.”
In his final comments to the court on December 14, 2020, Ruslan boldly stated: “In the first century C.E., a young man of 33 years stood trial on charges of inciting rebellion against the state. However, the documented judicial proceedings show that he was judged for his relationship with God, Jehovah. The witnesses’ testimonies contradicted one another, and the prosecution could in no way prove his guilt, but nonetheless there was a guilty verdict. That man was Jesus Christ.
“Now today, in the twenty-first century, I—a young man also at the age of 33—stand before the court, likewise accused of a crime against Constitutional order and State security. . . . When I hear that I am accused of undermining Constitutional order and threatening State security, I am surprised by the inconsistency and absurdity of this accusation.”
Ruslan also strongly refuted the false charge that he was inciting ethnic and religious hatred. He said: “Due to a variety of circumstances, I grew up immersed in the culture of at least three peoples: Russian, Azerbaijani and Ukrainian. Each of these are equally dear and close to me. . . . Among my friends there are many from English-speaking African countries, as well as Chinese speakers. . . . I am Azerbaijani by birth. Everyone is aware of the long-standing animosity between the peoples of Azerbaijan and Armenia, but my close friend is Armenian, and he served as a witness at my wedding. That sort of attitude towards people of different nationalities, races, religions, and social status was formed in me because of religious upbringing. . . . And now it’s very surprising for me and those that know me to hear accusations against me of inciting interethnic, interracial divisions or promoting the idea of superiority of one over another.”
It is encouraging to hear that our brothers and sisters in Russia are courageously using their time in court as opportunities to give a witness. We are confident that Jehovah will bless the seeds of truth we plant when defending our faith before officials.—Matthew 10:18.