A little good news on the doorstep can be a dangerous thing. In an increasingly intolerant Russia the evangelical Jehovah’s Witnesses are, according to a landmark court ruling this week, extremists to be feared – or jailed.
Laws against extremists enacted in 2002 under President Vladimir Putin and then extended to non-violent groups in 2007, were touted as a way to prevent terrorist attacks and ultranationalist violence. But campaigners say the legislation is being used to target faith groups.
One of Russia’s largest anti-extremism trials in recent memory centred on Alexei Koptev. On Tuesday, a judge in Taganrog, a small port 600 miles south of Moscow, convicted the 71-year-old and 15 co-defendants for trying to revive the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Taganrog.
Mr Koptev’s transformation from respected Soviet factory foreman to alleged extremist began when two Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on his front door to ask whether he kept a Bible at home. The visit sparked a religious revival in Mr Koptev and his wife, Lyubov, and they converted two years later in a seaside baptism.
https://www.endtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/pg-23-russia-jehovah-wp-getty.jpg 768 1024 alphatimes https://endtime.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/endtime-logo.png alphatimes2015-12-02 00:00:002018-03-28 17:06:37Jehovah’s Witnesses targeted by Russia’s anti-extremism laws simply for practising their pacifist faith, say campaigners