In July 2021, the court sentenced Vilen Avanesov to 6 years in prison for believing in Jehovah God, and his son Arsen to 6.5 years in prison. The believers were found guilty of extremism because they read and discussed the Bible with friends.
Vilen was born in 1952 in Baku (Azerbaijan). He worked as an electrician and builder, now retired. Since childhood, Vilen is fond of cooking, loves to bake homemade bread. Another of Vilen's hobbies is reading. One of his favorite books from a young age was the Bible.
In 1980, Vilen married Stella, they had a son, Arsen, and a daughter, Elina. Due to the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh in 1988, the family was forced to leave their home and move to Armenia as refugees. But the earthquake in Yerevan in the same year and the deteriorating financial situation forced the family to move again. This time, the place of residence was the Russian Rostov-on-Don. Vilen had to start everything from scratch, because he lost his home first in Baku and then in Yerevan.
The whole big family of Vilen is worried about the fact that they and Arsen were convicted. Vilen is in poor health. “Vilen and prison are incomparable things,— says his wife.— Vilen is the kindest person. This is how all his family and friends know him."