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High court in Russia overturns guilty verdict in Kalistratov case

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For immediate release: December 22, 2011


GORNO-ALTAYSK, Russia—On December 22, 2011, the Supreme Court of the Altay Republic reversed the guilty verdict in a significant criminal case against Aleksandr Kalistratov, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The judge in the first trial declared Mr. Kalistratov innocent of the charge of inciting religious hatred or enmity on April 14, 2011. However, at the request of the prosecutor, a retrial was ordered with a new judge who issued a guilty verdict on November 3, 2011, despite a lack of any new evidence. Mr. Kalistratov appealed the conviction, leading to today’s verdict.

Mr. Kalistratov stated, “I am glad that justice prevailed. I really hope to resume my normal routine and activities as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Vasily Kalin of the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia said, “Today, the court issued the right decision. We hope that justice will triumph in other legal cases throughout Russia as well, where our fellow believers continue to have their rights significantly restricted solely on the grounds of their religion.”

Mr. Mikhail Odintsov, of the Russian Ombudsman’s Office, commented on the charges, “Preaching activity, for which Kalistratov was incriminated, has been carried out within the limits of those forms of theological discussions that are generally accepted by Christianity when proving someone’s teachings and outlook to be ‘true’ while claiming all the other religious systems to be ‘false.’ We are speaking of actions which, in a secular society governed by the rule of law and a democratic State, have never constituted a crime as stipulated in Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.”

Source article: http://www.jw-media.org/kgz/20111222.htm

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Amen Chuck Amen! Maybe there is yet time in this old system for the good news to reach more people in Russia. I see in the news that "Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to resign." Only Jehovah knows what's in store for our dear brothers in Russia.

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