Case of Skachidub in Pavlovskaya

Case history

In April 2020, the security forces searched and interrogated Vladimir Skachidub and his wife, a disabled person of group II. Two months later, a criminal case was initiated against a believer from the village of Pavlovskaya under two parts of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Vitaly Veter, an investigator of the FSB of Russia for the Krasnodar Territory, considered it a crime that Vladimir Skachidub “played the role of a preacher” while talking with others about the Bible. Since December 2020, the Skachidub case has been considered by Olga Marchenko, judge of the Pavlovsky District Court of the Krasnodar Territory. In October 2021, she sentenced a believer with a disability to 4 years and 2 months in a penal colony. Six months later, the Court of Appeal upheld this decision. Vladimir is serving his sentence in IK-6 in the Ryazan region, 1200 km from home.

  • #
    April 29, 2020
  • #
    June 23, 2020

    Lieutenant of Justice Vitaliy Veter, investigator of the 2nd branch of the Krasnodar Territory Directorate of the FSB of Russia, initiates a criminal case against Vladimir Skachidub under Part 2 of Article 282. 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (participation in the activities of a banned extremist organization).

  • #
    June 29, 2020

    Vladimir Skachidub is being prosecuted. The ruling states that he, "participated ... in a religious educational event - a sermon lesson, exercising the role of a preacher ... spread the ideology of the LRO Jehovah's Witnesses."

    Investigator Vitaliy Veter interrogates Vladimir Skachidub. A written undertaking not to leave and proper behavior is taken from him.

  • #
    July 6, 2020
  • #
    December 30, 2020

    Referee: Olga Marchenko. Pavlovsky District Court of the Krasnodar Territory (Pavlovskaya Station, Lenin Street, 23). The first hearing in the case of Vladimir Skachidub is underway. The believer is charged immediately under 2 articles of the Criminal Code: participation in the activities of an extremist organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and involvement of others in the activities of an extremist organization (part 1.1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The measure of restraint for him remains unchanged - he is under recognizance not to leave and proper behavior.

  • #
    January 27, 2021

    Vladimir Skachidub during the court session expresses his attitude to the charges. He notes: "The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation made it clear that its decision of April 20, 2017 does not prohibit the constitutional rights of citizens, including mine. [...] I am a Jehovah's Witness and am prosecuted solely for my peaceful religious activities. [...] It follows from the charges that I face imprisonment just because I exercised my right to profess religion." The believer expresses confidence: "For the court, the striking difference between Christian peaceful service to God, which I am determined to carry out all my life, and extremism, which is completely alien to me, will be obvious."

  • #
    June 2, 2021

    Audio recordings of Vladimir Skachidub's conversations about the Bible with one of the interlocutors are listened to. They talk about love for parents, for wife, for Jesus Christ. On the recording, Vladimir can be heard emphasizing: Jehovah's Witnesses do not force anyone to follow biblical standards.

  • #
    June 22, 2021

    The defendant testifies. He notes that he is accused of peacefully studying the Bible with a local resident, although this does not contradict Article 28 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Vladimir explains that he did not force him to do anything, did not call for extremist activities and did not involve him in the LRO. The believer adds: "I understand when cannabis or poppy seeds are seized from a drug addict. He prepares a drug from them, although there are also useful substances in these plants. But what kind of 'drug' is found in the Holy Scriptures in the New World Translation?" One of the editions of this translation, published by Jehovah's Witnesses, was banned for distribution in Russia.

  • #
    September 23, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    During the debate, prosecutor Volkov requested a sentence of 4 years and 6 months in a general regime colony for Vladimir Skachidub for reading and discussing the Bible.

    The believer's lawyer lists the actions that the law associates with extremism and shows that the defendant did not commit them.

    Another lawyer, referring to the statements of the President of the Russian Federation and prominent political figures, reminds the court of the groundlessness of the criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • #
    October 7, 2021
  • #
    October 11, 2021 First Instance Sentence

    Judge Olga Marchenko sentences Vladimir Skachidub to 4 years and 2 months in a penal colony. The believer is taken into custody in the courtroom and placed in pre-trial detention center No. 1 in Krasnodar, where he will await an appeal against the verdict.

  • #
    November 11, 2021

    The lawyer visits Vladimir Skachidub in SIZO-1 in Krasnodar. The believer is currently being held alone in a double cell. To maintain his physical and emotional health, he regularly goes for walks and does exercises.

    Vladimir has a Bible. He receives letters of support not only from Russia, but also from England, Germany, the USA and other countries. He receives more correspondence in one day than all prisoners in a week.

    At the request of the believer, he was given the necessary medicines, which he takes due to chronic diseases. In the pre-trial detention center, he is respected by both convicts and employees. The prisoners warmly address him as "Uncle Vova".

  • #
    April 20, 2022 Court of Appeal

    The Krasnodar Regional Court approves the verdict.

  • #
    May 31, 2022 Life in prison

    It becomes known that Vladimir was taken to the place of serving his sentence - to Correctional Colony No. 6 in the Ryazan Region. It is located 1200 km from the believer's house.

  • #
    July 21, 2022 Life in prison

    The lawyer visits Vladimir Skachidub in the colony. Vladimir is not discouraged and maintains a positive attitude. He has all the necessary medicines, the barracks are clean, there is a refrigerator, enough food. The believer also has a Bible. He continues to receive a large number of letters and devotes a lot of time to answering them.

    Vladimir has good relations with other prisoners and the administration. He generously shares with others, treats others kindly. All this, as well as the venerable age of the believer, cause him to be treated with respect.

  • #
    March 20, 2023 Life in prison

    Vladimir Skachidub is doing well. He maintains friendly relations with administration staff and prisoners. The believer is grateful to his friends for their support and help. In early April, he should have a meeting with his wife.