Case of Yeliseyev and Ilyasova in Snezhnogorsk

Case History

In July 2021, FSB officers conducted mass searches in the homes of believers from the Murmansk Region, including Snezhnogorsk. Late in the evening, the law enforcement officers broke into the apartment of Yunona Ilyasova, a mother of three young children and a special education teacher. During the night, a search also took place at the home of Aleksey Yeliseyev. The believers spent 24 hours in a temporary detention center. According to the investigation, Yeliseyev and Ilyasova “organized individual preaching and the discussion of religious literature and its texts” - for this they were accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization. In August 2022, the case went to court. In May 2023, the believers were sentenced to fines.

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    July 19, 2021

    A. N. Leshkov, Senior Investigator of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region, initiates criminal case No. 12102470006000036 on the grounds of a crime under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Unidentified persons are accused of organizing extremist activities in the city of Snezhnogorsk.

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    July 21, 2021

    FSB officers S. V. Polishchuk, I. A. Meshchirikov and S. B. Mikheev organize searches at least at nine addresses of believers in the cities of Murmansk, Snezhnogorsk, Polyarny and Olenegorsk.

    In the apartments of 38-year-old electric welder of the shipyard Alexei Eliseev and 36-year-old mother of three young children Yunona Ilyasova searches are carried out at night "in connection with the urgency of investigative actions."

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    July 22, 2021

    Aleksey Yeliseyev and Yunona Ilyasova are detained and placed in a temporary detention facility.

    Major of Justice A. N. Leshkov, Senior Investigator of the Investigative Directorate for Closed Administrative-Territorial Formations of the Murmansk Region of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region, hands over to Eliseev and Ilyasova a decision to bring them as accused of violating Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. According to the investigation, the believers "searched for technical means and devices connected to the Internet, organized personal sermons, discussion of religious literature and its texts."

    Aleksey Eliseev and Yunona Ilyasova are elected a measure of restraint in the form of a written undertaking not to leave.

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    July 29, 2021 Search
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    August 15, 2022

    The criminal case of Aleksey Eliseev and Yunona Ilyasova is submitted to the Polyarny District Court of the Murmansk Region. It will be considered by judge Roza Bolotskaya.

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    September 21, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    First meeting on the merits. Juno expresses her attitude to the accusation: "The Supreme Court did not forbid me, with my family or with my friends, to discuss biblical issues, that is, to perform worship services. This is my constitutional right. And the discussion of the Bible by a group of people is not included in the list of extremist activities." She asks the court: "For some reason, the fact that I sing songs and pray was considered extremism?"

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    March 1, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Religious scholar and sociologist Larisa Astakhova is being interrogated via video link. It turns out that during the examination, she ignored 34 questions from the defense, answering only 5. The lawyer also notes that Astakhova went beyond her powers and gave a legal assessment of the actions of the defendants.

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    April 10, 2023 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor is requesting 6.5 years in prison for Aleksey Yeliseyev and 6 years for Yunona Ilyasova. The judge does not satisfy the defense's request for photo and video filming of the next hearing.

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    May 15, 2023 Final statement In the courtroom

    The defendants make their final statements.