A Russian court in Siberia has sentenced a Jehovah’s Witness to six years in prison amid an ongoing crackdown on the religious group, which has been banned in the country since 2017.
A court in the city of Krasnoyarsk sentenced Yevgeny Zinich on June 27 after finding him guilty of organizing the activities of an “extremist organization.”
The court also ruled that Zinich will be on parole for one year after serving his term and banned him from leading public and religious organizations for two years.
The probe against Zinich was launched in early 2021.
Since the faith was outlawed, many Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned in Russia.
According to the group, dozens of Jehovah’s Witnesses have either been convicted of extremism or have been held in pretrial detention.
The United States has condemned Russia’s ongoing crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses and other peaceful religious minorities.
For decades, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been viewed with suspicion in Russia, where the dominant Russian Orthodox Church is championed by President Vladimir Putin.
The Christian group is known for door-to-door preaching, close Bible study, rejection of military service, and refusal to mark national and religious holidays or birthdays.