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Brother Sergey Klimov in a courtroom holding cell in May 2019

NOVEMBER 11, 2019
RUSSIA

Russian Court Orders Brother Klimov to Six Years in Prison, Harshest Sentence Issued Since 2017 Ban

On November 5, 2019, the Oktyabrsky District Court of Tomsk sentenced Brother Sergey Klimov to six years in prison. Dennis Christensen is the only other brother in Russia to have received a sentence of this length. However, in Brother Klimov’s case, the court imposed several additional restrictions, making his the harshest sentence imposed on one of our brothers since the 2017 Supreme Court ban.

Brother Klimov was arrested on June 3, 2018, after law enforcement, including special forces, invaded two homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some 30 brothers and sisters, including an 83-year-old sister, were taken away for questioning. All but Brother Klimov were released. Criminal charges were brought against him, and a court ordered that he be placed in pretrial detention for two months. His term was extended seven times, meaning that even before beginning his six-year prison sentence, he has been incarcerated—separated from his wife and family—for a year and five months.

Lawyers for Brother Klimov will appeal his conviction. Additionally, on August 20, 2018, the complaint Klimov v. Russia was filed with the European Court of Human Rights regarding his pretrial detention.

Throughout 2019, we have seen an increase in raids, arrests, and detentions in Russia. Yet, our brothers remain undeterred. We are encouraged by the evidence that Jehovah is blessing our brothers’ full confidence in him.—Psalm 56:1-5, 9.