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Another Jehovah's Witness Sentenced To Lengthy Prison Term In Siberia

KRASNOYARSK, Russia -- Another Jehovah's Witness has been handed a lengthy prison term in Siberia amid an ongoing crackdown on the religious group, which has been banned in Russia since 2017.

The press service of the regional prosecutor's office in the Krasnoyarsk region said on June 17 that the Zheleznodorozhny district court had found a 48-year-old local resident guilty of organizing the activities of a banned extremist group and sentenced him to six years in prison.

The court also barred him from leading a public organization for three years. The man's identity was not disclosed.

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 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 celebrations of national and religious holidays or birthdays.

Since the faith was outlawed, many Jehovah's Witnesses have been imprisoned in Russia and the Russian-occupied Ukrainian Black Sea Crimea peninsula.

According to the group, dozens of Jehovah's Witnesses have either been convicted of extremism or have been held in pretrial detention.

The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center has recognized dozens of Jehovah's Witnesses who've been charged with or convicted of extremism as political prisoners.