Case of Chernykh in Prokopyevsk

Case History

In November 2021, the Investigative Committee brought Yuriy Chernykh as a defendant in the case of participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Previously, the believer was interrogated as a witness in the case against another Jehovah’s Witness from Prokopyevsk, Andrey Vlasov. The Chernykhs, the father of a minor child, were searched twice, he was obliged to appear, and later signed a written undertaking not to leave. In June 2022, the case went to court. And in September 2023, the court found Yuriy Chernykh guilty and sentenced him to 3 years of forced labor minus 15% of his salary in favor of the state and 2.5 years of ban on public activities.

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    July 12, 2020

    FSB officers search the house of Yuri Chernykh and his wife Yelena. After the searches, they are taken for interrogation to the FSB department in Prokopyevsk. It turns out that the investigative actions are taking place in the framework of the criminal case against Andrei Vlasov.

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    November 5, 2021

    T. V. Zorina, an investigator for internal affairs of the investigative department for the city of Prokopyevsk of the investigative department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kemerovo Region - Kuzbass, initiates a criminal case under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (participation in the activities of a banned organization) against unidentified persons.

    According to the investigation, some residents of Prokopyevsk, "acting deliberately, by a group of persons, in agreement with A.V. Vlasov, realizing criminal intent, being in an unidentified place on the territory of the city of Prokopyevsk ... participated in the activities of the liquidated organization." This is how the investigation characterizes the peaceful worship of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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    November 10, 2021

    Yuriy Chernykh, the father of a minor child, is being searched again. In addition to electronic media, the security forces seize TV, as well as postcards and personal notes.

    Investigator Zorin interrogates Chernykh. He uses Article 51 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which gives him the right not to testify against himself and his loved ones. The investigator hands over to the believer the decision to initiate criminal case No. 12102320012000120 against him. An obligation is taken from the Chernykhs to appear.

    Previously, Yuri Chernykh was a witness in the case of Andrei Vlasov.

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    April 26, 2022

    Yuriy Chernykh is elected a new measure of restraint - a written undertaking not to leave.

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    June 8, 2022 Case went to court

    The case against Yuri Chernykh is submitted to the Central District Court of Prokopyevsk and referred to the Deputy Chairman of the Court, Alyona Novoselova.

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    July 18, 2022

    The prosecutor announces the charges.

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    August 8, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Secret witness Reutov, who had previously testified against another believer from Prokopyevsk, Andrei Vlasov, is being interrogated.

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    August 29, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    FSB officer Karpov is summoned for questioning.

    He finds it difficult to explain on what grounds he determined that the defendant committed criminal activity.

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    April 13, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    At the meeting, audio recordings of worship services are listened to, in particular, a recording of a conversation on biblical topics, where the question "who is God?" is discussed, as well as tips for strengthening marriage.

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    May 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The court continues to review video recordings from the case materials that Jehovah's Witnesses use in worship services.

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    July 11, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Yuri testifies and explains that thoughts from the Bible were discussed at meetings with friends, which does not require a legal entity.

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    August 14, 2023 Prosecutor requested punishment Hearing in a court of the first instance Forced labor

    The prosecutor requests 2.5 years of forced labor for Yuriy Chernykh with a deduction of 15% of his salary in favor of the state.

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    September 28, 2023 In the courtroom First Instance Sentence Art. 282.2 (2) Final statement

    Referee: Alyona Novoselova. Central District Court of Prokopyevsk, Kemerovo Region (9 Karl Liebknecht St., Prokopyevsk).

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    November 28, 2023 Court of Appeal Art. 282.2 (2) Forced labor Prosecution of several family members