Case of Markin and Trofimov in Polyarny

Case history

In April 2017, the families of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to the attention of the FSB officers in the Murmansk region. A year later, a series of searches took place in Polyarny, after which 13 citizens, including the minor Violetta Markina, were taken for interrogations, which lasted until 6 a.m. the next day. Investigator A. V. Gulin considered prayers and reading the Bible dangerous acts for the state. Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov were sent to a pre-trial detention center for six months on suspicion of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. They spent another 4 months under house arrest. After 20 court hearings, the prosecutor requested 6 years in prison for Roman Markin and 6 years and 5 months for Viktor Trofimov. On January 24, 2020, Viktoriya Loginova, a judge of the Polyarny District Court, sentenced the believers to fines: Viktor Trofimov in the amount of 350,000 rubles, and Roman Markin - 300,000 rubles. The Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation upheld the verdict.

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    November 2017

    Hidden video cameras are installed in the apartments of the residents of Polyarny, whom the FSB considers Jehovah's Witnesses. Surveillance at the request of the FSB is authorized by the Northern Naval Military Court.

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    March 29, 2018

    The FSB declares the "discovery of a crime" and transfers the case for investigation to the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region. Joint prayers and Bible readings are interpreted as "organizing the activities of an extremist organization" (with reference to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate all 396 registered organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses).

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    April 12, 2018

    The Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region initiates a criminal case against Viktor Trofimov and other unidentified persons under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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    April 18, 2018
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    April 19, 2018

    Local residents Viktor Trofimov and Roman Markin were charged under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. They were detained for 48 hours, then for another 72 hours.

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    April 20, 2018 Search
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    April 23, 2018
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    April 30, 2018

    The Court of Appeal does not satisfy Viktor Trofimov's complaint against the measure of restraint.

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    May 7, 2018

    The Court of Appeal does not satisfy Roman Markin's complaint against the measure of restraint.

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    May 11, 2018 Search
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    May 18, 2018

    The criminal case is transferred to the investigator Gulin A.V. for development.

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    June 8, 2018

    The Polyarny District Court extends the arrest of Viktor Trofimov and Roman Markin for 5 months and 24 days at once.

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    June 25, 2018

    The Court of Appeal does not satisfy Roman Markin's complaint against the measure of restraint.

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    July 5, 2018

    The Court of Appeal does not satisfy Viktor Trofimov's complaint against the measure of restraint.

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    October 10, 2018
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    October 11, 2018
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    December 7, 2018

    Polyarny District Court extends the house arrest of Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov for 2 months, until 11.02.2019

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    February 7, 2019
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    February 13, 2019
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    March 19, 2019

    The investigator notifies the believers of the completion of the investigative actions and the transition to the stage of familiarizing the accused with the case materials.

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    April 2, 2019

    The prosecutor's office of the Kola district of the Murmansk region signs the indictment, the final document in which the investigators had to justify their attacks on peaceful law-abiding believers.

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    May 17, 2019

    Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov were indicted.

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    May 27, 2019

    The case is submitted to the Polyarny District Court and referred to Judge Victoria Loginova for consideration. The case is assigned the number 1-23/2019.

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    May 28, 2019

    A preliminary hearing is underway.

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    July 9, 2019

    Hearings on the case begin. Further hearings are held on 17.07.2019, 18.07.2019, 24.07.2019, 01.08.2019, 07.08.2019, 14.08.2019, 21.08.2019, 04.09.2019, 11.09.2019, 16.09.2019, 26.09.2019, 02.10.2019, 11.11.2019, 13.11.2019, 19.11.2019, 26.11.2019, 02.12.2019, 12.12.2019 and 26.12.2019.

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    January 15, 2020

    During the debate, the prosecutor asks the court to sentence Roman Markin to 6 years in prison, and Viktor Trofimov to 6 years and 5 months in prison. In turn, in the last word, the believers ask the court to fully acquit them.

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    January 22, 2020
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    January 23, 2020
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    January 24, 2020

    Viktoriya Loginova, judge of the Polyarny District Court, announces the verdict. Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov were found guilty under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Viktor Trofimov was sentenced to a fine of 350,000 rubles, Roman Markin - 300,000 rubles. (The court took into account that the believers spent six months in pre-trial detention, so it reduced the fine imposed on them from 650,000 and 600,000 rubles to 350,000 and 300,000 rubles, respectively.)

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    February 3, 2020

    In Polyarny, believers Markin and Trofimov are filing an appeal against a conviction handed down to them for their faith.

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    February 27, 2020

    The appeal of Markin and Trofimov was accepted in the Murmansk Regional Court. Case No. 22-339/2020 is referred to Judge Roman Goraskov for consideration.

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    May 25, 2020 Court of Appeal

    An appeal hearing is underway in the Murmansk City Court. Judge Roman Goraskov leaves the verdict of the Polar City Court unchanged - to recover fines from Viktor Trofimov and Roman Markin in the amount of 350,000 and 300,000 rubles, respectively.

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    December 16, 2021

    Judge of the Third Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction in St. Petersburg, Denis Savelyev, leaves the verdict and the appeal ruling against Roman Markin and Viktor Trofimov unchanged.