Case of Parkova in Rostov-on-Don

Case history

Galina Parkova, a Chinese tutor from Rostov-on-Don, followed her husband under the yoke of criminal prosecution. Peaceful meetings, at which she discussed the Bible with friends, were mistaken for extremism by the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. On June 6, 2019, a criminal case was opened against her under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Galina spent more than one month under recognizance not to leave. The prosecution was based, among other things, on the testimony of a secret witness who saw the defendant only twice and talked with her on topics unrelated to the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In October 2020, the case went to court. The prosecutor requested a 3-year suspended sentence for the believer. In January 2021, a judge sentenced Parkova to 2 years and 3 months on probation. In March 2021, the appellate instance upheld the verdict, and in December the court of cassation approved this decision. Galina served her main sentence on April 26, 2023.

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    June 6, 2019

    The First Investigation Department (based in Rostov-on-Don) of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiates criminal cases for faith under Part 2 of Article 282.2 against Olga Ganusha (born in 1961), Lyudmila Ponomarenko (born in 1950) and Galina Parkova (born in 1970). According to the investigation, they participated in religious meetings, including religious services; provided living quarters for meetings; made donations; engaged in agitation among persons who are not followers of the religious teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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    June 17, 2019

    Galina Parkova is chosen a measure of restraint in the form of a written undertaking not to leave.

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    August 17, 2020

    The cases of Olga Ganusha, Lyudmila Ponomarenko and Galina Parkova are combined into one proceeding. All women are formally charged under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code.

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    September 9, 2020
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    October 10, 2020

    The case of Galina Parkova was separated into a separate proceeding. As a result, the criminal case of each believer will be considered separately.

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    November 25, 2020

    Leninsky District Court judge Snezhana Fedorova interrogates a prosecution witness. He explains that none of the believers used the forbidden literature. Monetary donations are only voluntary.

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    December 8, 2020

    A religious scholar from the Department of Religious Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Southern Federal University is being interrogated. He emphasizes that the propaganda of religious superiority is inherent in any religion that considers its teachings to be true. Regarding military service, he said that "Jehovah's Witnesses are consistent pacifists, but they do not refuse alternative service." The specialist declares that violence is alien to Jehovah's Witnesses. On the contrary, they are focused on good deeds.

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    December 23, 2020

    Galina Parkova is being interrogated at the next court hearing. The believer tells the court how the Bible has changed her life for the better, and how she herself manages to maintain good relations with relatives who do not share her beliefs. She also informs the court that she is unable to use a bank card, and because of this, she lost her job.

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    January 12, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The Leninsky District Court is holding a hearing in the case of Galina Parkova. Investigator Mikhail Antipov, who, according to witnesses Andrey Okhrimchuk and his wife Ekaterina, falsified their testimony in the cases of other Jehovah's Witnesses accused of extremism, is being questioned as a witness.

    A secret witness "Andrew" is being interrogated. He says that he saw the defendant only 2 times and they talked on abstract topics not related to the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    During interrogation, Galina Parkova notes that she has nothing to do with the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses in Rostov-on-Don, and denies using the banned publication.

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    January 19, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor requests 3 years of probation, 1 year of restriction of freedom with a 4-year probationary period for Galina Parkova.

    The court schedules the believer's last speech on January 25. On the same day, the verdict may be announced.

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    January 25, 2021 Final statement

    Galina Parkova speaks in court with her last word, drawing attention to the absence of actions of an extremist nature and the fact that there are no victims in the case. The believer also explains to the judge the fallacy of the logic of the accusation, which unreasonably confuses the concepts of a banned organization and a permitted religion.

    "Your Honor! I ask you to make a fair decision in my case and pass an acquittal. I have not and have never had anything to do with extremism. And forbidding believing is like forbidding breathing. Unthinkable and impossible!" the believer declares.

    Judge Snezhana Fedorova begins to announce the verdict, but takes a break, postponing the announcement to the next day.

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    January 26, 2021 First Instance Sentence

    Judge of the Leninsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don Snezhana Fedorova sentences Galina Parkova to 2 years and 3 months of probation with a probation period of 2 years and 3 months.

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    March 22, 2021 Court of Appeal

    The Rostov Regional Court upholds the conviction of the Leninsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don against Galina Parkova. The verdict shall take effect immediately.

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    March 23, 2021
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    December 15, 2021

    The 4th Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction in Krasnodar upholds the verdict and appeal decision in the case of Galina Parkova from Rostov-on-Don

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    April 26, 2023

    Galina Parkova served the main sentence — a suspended sentence of 2 years and 3 months.