February 22, 1999
Prosecutor Kondratyeva opened today’s proceeding with another new motion. She announced that Chief Prosecutor Viktorov had been insulted by Galina Krylova’s summation comparing this prosecution to the Nazi ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Kondratyeva wanted a copy of the court’s protocol in order to begin criminal proceedings against Krylova. Court declined to provide advance copy of protocol and made no comment on Viktorov’s complaint.
The proceeding continued with prosecutor questioning defense counsel Leontyev. Questions covered issues of who published religious literature, registration status of Jehovah’s Witnesses in other countries such as Germany and canonical structure of the religious organization. Prosecutor also asked a number of questions about religious doctrine wherein Lenotyev answered by reading from the Bible at Daniel 2:44,45 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5. At one point, the judge again stressed the need for the prosecutor to ask relevant questions. As the morning progressed, the judge reminded the prosecutor that the court wanted to start hearing from witnesses.
In the afternoon, the prosecuter kept questioning defense counsel with the judge repeating the request to soon hear evidence from witnesses. By 4:00 p.m., the questions finished and the prosecutor still had no witnesses ready. At this point, defense counsel Galina Krylova offered a defense witness to avoid wasting the court’s day. She called Vasilii Kalin, chairman of the presiding committee for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
Kalin showed Jehovah’s Witness were not new in Russia. He was third generation Witness, his grandparents becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses during the 1940’s. He also showed documents proving that he and his family had been exiled to Siberia during the 1950’s because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a young student, twice he was denied entry into university because he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His brother was imprisoned because he would not participate in the young communist league. The court listened carefully as Kalin painted the grim picture of religious persecution and oppression of a minority that would not bend to tyrannical demands of the controlling political power. The day concluded at 6:00 p.m. with Kalin still to complete his evidence.