When the word jail or prison is brought up, you logically think criminals and people who have done bad things, but sometimes innocent people are taken in place of the people who are really guilty. These people’s human rights are violated, and recently these human rights practically don’t exist in countries like Russia, Azerbaijan, and other countries.
Going on since 2006, Russian authorities had claimed a specific religious group, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to have had extremist religious worship. In June 2016, it was found that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), found that Russia had violated Articles 5 and 9. According to ECHR Convention Guide to Article 5, it is the right to liberty and security. This article is 44 pages long and explains the article, why it was made, and the guarantees a person has if they are deprived of their liberty and security. In the ECHR Convention Guide to Article 9, it explains the freedom to religion. These articles were found to be violated when the police went in on an illegal raid in a religious service on the night April 12, 2006. Russian officials have even made a list of books they considered extremist, some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature is on the list. There have been times where it was believed the Russian Authorities have tried to fabricate evidence, or plant evidence, in their place of worship so they could be charged with extremism. The official page of Jehovah’s Witnesses has a video explaining this situation. You can go to JW.ORG, and search for Russian Authorities Fabricate Evidence to Charge Witnesses With Extremist, it should be the first video. If you want more information about what is happening in Russia, you could hover over the bold RUSSIA under the date. Most of these Jehovah’s Witnesses have been sent to court and tried for the extremist actions they have been accused of. The Russian authorities have also tried to make the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the bible, go onto the list of extremist books. Without their books, they will not be able to go to their place of worship to study the bible. With the issue of the bible, we can see that recently, January 14, 2016, Russian authorities have seized the shipments of bibles and the books that help them understand the bible. In 2015, they stopped a shipment of 2,013 Russian-language copies of the bible. This again was violating their human rights by not letting them have their freedom of religion.
Azerbaijan has also been violating the human rights of many people in their country. This started in 2014, on Sunday morning the police had broken into the Jehovah’s Witnesses place of worship, the official page of Jehovah’s Witnesses mentions, “The police not only interrupted the religious service of Jehovah’s Witnesses but also beat several of the men, searched the premises without a warrant, verbally abused those in attendance, and confiscated money, computers, and the congregation’s Bible literature.” The officers had no right to do this, according to Crime and Society: A Comparative Criminology Tour of the World, “The Constitution allows searches of residences only with a court order or in cases provided by law; however, the authorities often conducted searches without warrants.” There was also the case of two women who were being held, Irina Zakharchenko and Valida Jabrayilova, for 11 months. These women were finally released on January 28, 2016, but it came with a price. It cost them 7,000 manat or 4474.62 American dollars. This price was only because these ladies had been distributing one religious brochure. Government officials later decided that the fines would be dropped seeing as the women had been in the jail since February 17, 2015. There was at one point a UN ruling that directed Azerbaijan to compensate the ladies for the unjust imprisonment that they were put into, but the officials completely disregarded that order. As mentioned before the ladies were let go, and are now in a healthy state. You can also find more information going to JW.ORG, and looking up Irina Zakharchenko and Valida Jabrayilova.