In July 2021, the court sentenced Arsen Avanesov to 6.5 years in prison for believing in Jehovah God, and his elderly father Vilen — to 6 years in prison. The believers were found guilty of extremism because they read and discussed the Bible with friends.
Arsen was born in 1983 in Baku (Azerbaijan). He has an elder sister Elina. As a child, Arsen played rugby. After school, he graduated from the Don State Technical University with a degree in engineering in biomedical practice, but worked mainly in the construction professions. In the late 1980s, his family moved first to Armenia and then to Russia, where they settled in Rostov-on-Don.
Arsen is fond of foreign languages, studying English and French. Thanks to my parents, I got acquainted with the Bible, from which he draws guidance for everyday life.
Those close to Arsen and Vilen believe that they were condemned unfairly, since the believers did not actually commit any crime. Arsen was the main breadwinner of the family, his parents are pensioners. Arsen's mother has been deprived of the necessary support since the arrest of both men in May 2019.