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State Department sharply criticizes Russia over prison term for female Jehovah's Witness

Added 01-26-22 01:22:02pm EST - “The State Department on Wednesday denounced Russia's crackdown on Jehovah's Witnesses in a blistering response to reports that a Russian court has sentenced a female Witness to six years in prison for practicing her faith.” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “State Department sharply criticizes Russia over prison term for female Jehovah’s Witness”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The State Department on Wednesday denounced Russia’s crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses in a blistering response to reports that a Russian court has sentenced a female Witness to six years in prison for practicing her faith.

“The United States condemns Russia’s continued crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other peaceful religious minorities, in the strongest possible terms,” a State Department spokesperson said in an email to The Washington Times.

The statement was in response to reports that a court in Astrakhan, a city in the southern part of Russia, had sentenced Anna Safranova, 56, to six years in prison on Tuesday.

Ms. Safranova was convicted of “extremist activities” — the Russian criminal code’s category applied to Jehovah’s Witness activities, the religious group said, adding that her sentence is the longest a female member has received there since 2017.

Her imprisonment “would be yet another example of why Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken designated Russia as a Country of Particular Concern for its serious violations of religious freedom in November 2021. The United States affirms that, as a matter of human rights, all people are entitled to believe, or not to believe, according to the dictates of their own conscience,” the spokesperson wrote.

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