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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alternative Service

MOSCOW -- Courts in three regions have allowed young men to avoid the draft in recent weeks because of their religious beliefs, the Jehovah's Witnesses' Russian office said Monday.

Last week, a Gorno-Altai city court ruled that Alexander Kalistratov, a Jehovah's Witness, had the right to alternative service because of his beliefs. On May 3, judges in Krasnodar reversed the conviction of Alexei Miroshnichenko, who had been sentenced for requesting alternative service, the statement said.

And on April 19, a district court in the city of Cheboksary upheld Oleg Lipatov's appeal for alternative service on religious grounds. Both men were Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses generally refuse to bear arms.