Name: Sakhib Aliev
Country/Area of Origin: St. Petersburg, Russia
Background: Religious official with Scientology religious group St. Petersburg , born in July 1984. Member of the Scientology religious order, the Sea Organization.
Reason for Arrest:
On June 6, 2017, FSB police and SWAT teams raided the Scientology religious group in St. Petersburg and arrested several people including Sakhib. Sakhib’s home was also raided. Sakhib was charged with “running a business without a license” after the Russian Government refused to register the St. Petersburg Church as a religious organization, despite being ordered to do so by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Sakhib has also been charged with “extremism” for simply practicing his religion.
He joined Scientology’s religious order in 2011. He is married with no children. He has not been allowed visitors except his attorney until a few months ago when his wife was allowed to see him.
12 months is the maximum allowed period of pre-trial detention for the types of crimes imputed to Sakhib under Russian law, but he has been held for 20 months. His attorneys have filed appeals contesting the pretrial detention on the grounds that his imprisonment constituted arbitrary deprivation of liberty in violation of Article 5 of the European Human Rights Convention as well as violations of their right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of association under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Convention.
At the detention hearing held to extend the detention of Sakhib, FSB Investigator Sergey Myakin attached to his motion a copy of the charging document from May 2018. According to defense counsel, the charges had changed, articles of the Criminal Code were different, and the conclusions of the investigator had changed. The document presented to the court did not contain the personal signatures of Aliev nor the signature of his attorney. According to defense counsel: “The original document was replaced by another document containing inaccurate information received in violation of the established procedure, but it is issued as genuine.”
If convicted, he faces 6-10 years in prison for practicing his religious beliefs.
- On 12 February 2020, a small court in St. Petersburg has agreed to try the case involving Sakhib Aliev and four other Scientologists for “organization of an extremist society, incitement of hatred or enmity, violation of human dignity, and illegal business operations.”