Gromov's case in Kazan

Case History

In March 2022, FSB officers detained Sergey and Yelena Gromova from Kazan at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. As it turned out, on the same day, an FSB investigator opened a criminal case against Sergey, who professes the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, for organizing the activities of an extremist organization. Two secret witnesses participated in the case, one of whom was an FSB officer. The believer was arrested and placed in a temporary detention facility, and 2 days later in a pre-trial detention center. Searches were carried out in the apartment of the Gromovs and at two other addresses. Later, the man was suspected of violating another article of the Criminal Code—on the financing of extremist activities. In February 2023, the case went to court, and in September of the same year, Gromov was convicted: 6 years and 1 month in a penal colony. In January 2024, the appeal upheld this decision.

  • #
    March 15, 2022 Search

    T. R. Minnekhanov, senior investigator-criminalist of the Investigation Department of the FSB of Russia in the Republic of Tatarstan, initiates a criminal case under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against Sergey Gromov.

    According to the investigation, "at the direction of S. V. Gromov, the book "Holy Scripture / New World Translation" was studied, containing an appeal to the audience in order to encourage it to a hostile perception of people distinguished on the basis of religious affiliation, as well as to justify the need to carry out aggressive, violent, cruel actions directed against a person in connection with his religious affiliation.

    On the same day, law enforcement officers detained the Gromovs at Moscow's Vnukovo airport and placed Sergey in custody.

  • #
    March 16, 2022

    A search is underway in the Gromovs' apartment in Kazan, authorized by the judge of the Vakhitovsky District Court of Kazan, N. R. Rakhmatullina. The security forces seized a phone, an old non-working tablet, a Bible translated by Archimandrite Macarius, books by religious scholars S. Ivanenko and N. Gordienko, as well as notebooks with personal notes and postcards.

  • #
    March 17, 2022

    Judge Rakhmatullina satisfies the investigator's request and chooses a measure of restraint for Gromov in the form of detention until May 15, 2022.

  • #
    March 18, 2022

    Two more searches are being conducted in the homes of believers in Kazan. Laptops, tablets, flash cards, bank cards and passports are seized.

  • #
    November 21, 2022

    The lawyer visits Sergey Gromov in the pre-trial detention center of Kazan. According to the believer, the conditions of detention are normal. There are 10 people in the 8-bed cell, but Sergey has his own bed. Cellmates refer to him as "you" and call him "Uncle Seryozha". Relations with the staff of the detention center are also friendly.

    The believer does not complain about his health, he remains calm. He has a Bible, he was given a copy in larger print.

  • #
    December 15, 2022

    During his next visit to the lawyer, Sergey said that the investigator opened a new criminal case against him under Part 1 of Article 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (financing the activities of an extremist organization).

    Now Sergey is being held with 7 other prisoners in an 8-bed cell. During two recent court hearings, Sergey saw his wife and daughter, which he was very happy about. He is also strengthened by letters of support from family and friends.

  • #
    February 16, 2023 Detention center

    Sergey Gromov has familiarized himself with the materials of the case, and is waiting for the start of the trial. His health is fine. Letters from friends and relatives come intermittently. The believer and his cellmates were temporarily transferred to a smaller cell, now there are 7 people for 6 places.

  • #
    February 20, 2023 Case went to court

    The case is submitted to the Moskovsky District Court of Kazan and appointed to Judge Alsu Gumirova.

  • #
    March 29, 2023 Detention center

    The emotional state of the believer is good, the relationship with the cellmate and the administration is normal.

    Sergey writes letters to his wife, and he also receives correspondence from relatives and friends. He has a Bible.

  • #
    March 30, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    40 people come to support a fellow believer, 10 of them are allowed into the courtroom at the request of the defense.

    A prosecution witness is being questioned. The woman characterizes Sergey positively. Her testimony does not fully coincide with those given by her at the preliminary investigation.

  • #
    April 13, 2023 Detention center

    It becomes known that Sergey Gromov was transferred to pre-trial detention center No. 2 in the city of Kazan. The believer is kept in a double cell. He can write letters.

  • #
    April 20, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The questioning of prosecution witnesses is ongoing.

    Three of Gromov's neighbors describe him as a polite, kind, sociable person who shows sympathy and attention.

    They also emphasize that the defendant is a good and responsible neighbor, regularly participates in the cleaning of the local area. One of the witnesses, who has known Sergey for more than 20 years, says that she adheres to other religious views, but this does not affect his good attitude towards her.

    Witness I. Z. Izmailov, an operative of the Center for Combating Extremism, reports that he is not aware of any facts of the defendant committing violent acts against the person, as well as attempts on the property of other citizens.

  • #
    May 4, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    20 people come to the meeting, 10 people are allowed into the hall according to the number of seats.

    A secret witness under the pseudonym Ilya Sagitov (Alexander Komzolov) is interrogated. He claims that he met with the defendant at his apartment in the period up to 2021. The defense states that it has information according to which Sagitov __ last communicated with Gromov in 2014, and from 2016 to 2019 the witness lived in Finland. The court removes the lawyer's questions to the witness aimed at identifying contradictions.

  • #
    July 20, 2023 Detention center

    It becomes known that Sergey has been held in solitary confinement since May 2023. There are working relations with the administration, there are no conflicts with other prisoners. There are no health complaints.

  • #
    August 10, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    A prosecution witness, law enforcement officer A. S. Zaitsev, who testified from secret witnesses, is being interrogated. He was unable to explain to the court why the texts of the protocols of interrogations of witnesses Sagitov and Sannikov (Mikhail Vasiliev, an FSB officer) sometimes copy the texts of the protocols from other cases.

  • #
    August 17, 2023 Interrogation Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The defense challenges the expert Rohatin in connection with his "extremely negative attitude towards Jehovah's Witnesses" and incompetence. The judge rejects the motion and proceeds to question the expert.

    As a witness for the defense, the court interrogates Gromov's employer. She speaks well of him and notes his honesty.

  • #
    August 24, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The defense inspects the items seized during the search of Gromov's home. The lawyer and the defendant draw the court's attention to the fact that there is no extremist literature among them.

    The court is shown the Bible in the translation of Archimandrite Macarius, the New Testament in the Synodal translation, the books of religious scholars Sergei Ivanenko and Nikolai Gordienko.

  • #
    August 31, 2023 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor asks the court to find Sergei Gromov guilty and sentence him to 8 years in a penal colony.

    Before that, the court refused to disclose the data of secret witnesses and initiate investigative actions to verify the slander on their part.

  • #
    September 14, 2023 Art. 282.2 (1) Art. 282.3 (1) Deprivation of liberty
  • #
    November 17, 2023 Letters Detention center Transfer of a prisoner

    It becomes known that Sergey Gromov was transported to pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Ufa. He can write letters.

  • #
    January 18, 2024 Transfer of a prisoner Detention center

    Sergey Gromov is transferred from pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Ufa to Beloretsk, pre-trial detention center No. 2 in the Republic of Bashkortostan. He can write letters.

  • #
    February 9, 2024 Court of Appeal Art. 282.2 (1) Art. 282.3 (1)