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Russia hands four Jehovah’s Witnesses six-year jail term for ‘extremism’

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A Russian court sentenced four members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the US-based Christian evangelical movement, to six years in prison for “extremism,” investigators said Tuesday.

The four adherents of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who hail from the city of Chita in eastern Siberia, were found guilty of organizing “extremist” activities between 2017 and 2020, the Investigative Committee said.

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They organized meetings, collected donations and distributed religious literature, investigators said in a statement.

The court sentenced two of the defendants to six and a half years in prison, and another to six years in prison.

The fourth person was given a six-year suspended sentence.

Russia brands the US evangelical Christian movement, which was set up in the late 19th century and preaches non-violence, as a totalitarian sect and in 2017 designated it an extremist organization and ordered its dissolution in the country.

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