JANUARY 11, 2021
A Turkmen military court will soon * announce its verdict in the case involving Brother Ruslan Artykmyradov. He faces up to two years in prison for conscientious objection. He has been in custody since December 15, 2020. This is the second time he is facing imprisonment for his neutral stand.
Born: 2000 (village of Alpan Gengeshlik)
Biography: Raised in a rural area. Worked in a vehicle mechanic shop. Was a good student and enjoys playing soccer
Learned to live according to Bible principles from his mother. The love and unity among Jehovah’s Witnesses impressed him, and he was baptized in 2015 at the age of 15. His love for Jehovah God moved him to refuse military service
On August 13, 2018, Brother Ruslan Artykmyradov, then aged 18, was sentenced to one year in prison for refusing to perform military service. He was released on August 12, 2019, after serving the entire sentence.
According to Turkmen law, young men can be prosecuted twice for conscientious objection. Therefore, in November 2020, Ruslan was summoned to report for military service.
Once again, Ruslan refused military service, fully aware that he may be sentenced to a second prison term. He was arrested on December 15, 2020, and placed in a pretrial detention facility pending a court hearing.
Ruslan is resolved to remain loyal to Jehovah. Recalling his first experience with the courts, he relates: “I wasn’t afraid, even though I knew that I would experience a serious trial and that I would deal with injustice. I wouldn’t trade my joy and spiritual things for anything.”
Ruslan’s prison experience was not easy. Conditions were miserable, and he was often mistreated. Yet, he always recognized Jehovah’s help. Ruslan recalls: “While I was in prison, I constantly saw Jehovah’s hand. For example, I saw Jehovah’s support when I didn’t experience pain during each subsequent blow.” Additionally, the loving support of the local brothers and sisters not only strengthened him but also provided a powerful witness to those around him.
Although facing the prospect of another prison term, Ruslan remains confident and explains: “I have strong faith that Jehovah will reward me. . . . Where there is a strong hope, there is endless joy; where there is joy, there is strength and endurance. And a strong person can never be broken.”
We are grateful for the examples of Ruslan and other courageous young ones who give further proof that Jehovah will enable us to face any trial with courage and joy. And we know that their unshakable loyalty to God’s Kingdom will be rewarded.—Hebrews 11:6.
^ par. 3 Advance notice of the verdict date is not always available.