Guyanese, Arrested in Moscow, is Forced to Sleep on the Floor, Although There Are Free Beds in the Pre-trial Detention Center

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On August 27, 2021, Sean Pike, a 49-year-old Jehovah’s Witness who was detained for his faith in Moscow, was placed in an overcrowded cell in Kapotnya Detention Center 7, given a mattress, and has been forced to sleep on the floor ever since. According to the lawyer, the situation can only be explained by the manifestation of domestic racism.

“High-class specialist Sean Pike is not a murderer, not a thief, and not involved in drugs. He’s a decent man. The attitude towards him is caused only by the colour of his skin, this is just everyday racism, ”said his lawyer.

As he explained, it is known that other cells of this pre-trial detention centre are not overcrowded, some have free places. Of all those detained, only a black believer is subjected to such humiliating treatment.

A native of Georgetown, Sean Pike is a citizen of Guyana and Russia. He is married and has two young children with chronic diseases in his care. In 1997, Pike graduated from the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia with honours, his thesis was recognized as the best that year. For almost 8 years he worked in the Ministry of Transport of Guyana. The believer has been working in the Russian Federation since 2010, from June 2012 to the present – in the Moscow office of one of the international design and construction companies. Sean Pike holds the position of senior project team leader and, as stated in his job description, has shown himself to be “a responsible, balanced and competent employee”, which is not tied to suspicions of extremism.

Sean Pike, as well as two other Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eduard Sviridov and Aleksandr Rumyantsev, were detained during searches of the homes of believers in the Teply Stan district on August 25, 2021. They were placed in a temporary detention centre, and two days later the Cheremushkinsky District Court of Moscow sent them into custody until at least 24 October. Believers are accused of “organizing the activities of an extremist organization” (part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). In the opinion of the investigator Vladimir Zubkov, who initiated the case, conversations about the Bible “have an increased public danger.”

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CASE

In August 2021, three Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eduard Sviridov, Sean Pike and Alexander Rumyantsev, were arrested in Teply Stan after searches. Because of their religion, they were accused of “organizing the activities of an extremist organization.” The investigation is being carried out by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. The believers were placed in the Kapotnya pre-trial detention centre-7. From the first days in this pre-trial detention centre, the 49-year-old father of two children, Sean Pike, a RUDN University graduate from Guyana, was placed in an overcrowded cell and forced to sleep on the floor, although there are cells with free seats in this pre-trial detention centre. According to the lawyer, the situation cannot be explained by anything other than domestic racism.

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