Case of Shut in Razdolnoye

Case History

Lyudmila Shut - a resident of the village of Razdolnoye in the Primorsky Territory is known as an affable, conflict-free person. However, in February 2020, Denis Shevchenko, an investigator of the CO in the Nadezhdinsky District, opened a criminal case under Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. During the hearings in the Nadezhdinsky District Court, witnesses confirmed that they had never heard any extremist statements from the defendant. After 5 months of litigation, the state prosecutor challenged judge Natalya Derevyagina, and Lyudmila Setrakova was appointed a new judge. The believer was forced to go through all the stages of the trial anew. On May 19, 2021, the verdict was announced to Lyudmila Shut - 4 years of suspended imprisonment with a probationary period of 3 years and restriction of liberty for 1 year. The court of appeal left the punishment unchanged.

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    November 9, 2017

    Operational-search measures begin against believers in the village of Razdolnoye (secret video recording of the service). Later, on the basis of the video, it was concluded that some believers were allegedly the leaders of the banned organization, while others were participants. Among them is Lyudmila Shut.

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    April 19, 2019

    72-year-old believer Lyudmila Shut is being interrogated at her home. She is involved as a witness in the case of G. G. Bubnov.

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    April 23, 2019

    The case of Vladimir Filippov and other believers, including Lyudmila Shut, is divided into separate proceedings. They are suspected under various articles: Filippov under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and the others under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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    February 10, 2020

    Investigator Denis Shevchenko initiates a criminal case against Lyudmila Shut on the basis of suspicions of her participation in an extremist organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Lyudmila is a disabled person of the II group. For health reasons, she can move only with the help of others or on crutches.

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    March 18, 2020

    Lyudmila Shut is summoned for interrogation on summons. Investigator Denis Shevchenko charges Lyudmila under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and chooses a preventive measure against her in the form of a written undertaking not to leave the place and proper behavior. After that, the investigator announces the end of the investigative actions.

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    March 20, 2020

    Denis Shevchenko, investigator of the Nadezhdinsky District Investigation Department, issues a decision to prosecute Lyudmila Shut as a defendant under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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    April 20, 2020

    Lyudmila Shut signs a protocol on familiarization with the materials of the criminal case.

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    April 27, 2020

    The believer is handed an indictment.

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    April 28, 2020

    The criminal case of Lyudmila Shut (No. 1-121/2020) is submitted to the Nadezhdinskiy District Court for consideration by Judge Natalia Derevyagina. A hearing on the merits shall be scheduled.

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    July 2, 2020

    The hearing is being held behind closed doors due to the epidemiological situation. The court rejects the motions for the preparation of the record of the court session in parts and for the termination of the case. Judge Natalia Derevyagina attaches to the case the Opinion of the UN Working Group and grants the request to exclude inadmissible evidence (protocols of interrogations of Lyudmila in the absence of a lawyer).

    The prosecutor reads out the charges. The defendant and her counsel express their disagreement with the charges. The next meetings will be held on August 27, 31 and September 1, 2020. It is planned to interview witnesses and study the written materials of the case.

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    August 27, 2020 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Witnesses are being questioned in the Nadezhdinskiy District Court. They give a positive description of Lyudmila Shut and say that they have never heard extremist statements from her. They confirm that the Administrative Center and the local religious organization did not exist in the village of Razdolnoye, and the meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses were not prohibited by the decision of the Supreme Court.

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    September 1, 2020

    The questioning of witnesses and the defendant continues. Written materials are examined.

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    September 11, 2020

    Judge Natalia Derevyagina granted the prosecutor's request to bring the prosecution witnesses who did not appear.

    In the course of the examination of evidence, it was established that during the search of Lyudmila Shut's home, no publications from the Federal List of Extremist Materials were found.

    The judge attaches to the case file the evidence presented by the defense: excerpts from scientific papers, documents with the position of international bodies, the Government of the Russian Federation and the President of the Russian Federation on the situation with Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

    At the same time, the judge refuses to attach to the case some expert opinions, the practice of the ECHR, the report of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation, indicating that the documents are not related to this case and are in the public domain. Also, the defense refused to summon investigator Shevchenko and expert Oleshkevich to court.

    At the request of the defense, video recordings of religious meetings are viewed. The participants in the trial are convinced that during the services the believers did not speak about the superiority of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses over others, as the prosecutor had previously claimed.

    The next hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on September 21, 2020.

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    September 21, 2020

    Witnesses are interrogated, one of whom is a neighbor of the believer. He speaks of Shut as an affable and conflict-free woman.

    The judge emphasizes that the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses is not prohibited.

    The defense filed motions to exclude inadmissible evidence: protocols of interrogation of believers who are actual suspects due to their criminal prosecution, but who were interrogated without a lawyer and were subjected to pressure from the security forces; conclusions of psychological, linguistic and religious expertise due to the fact that the expert answered legal questions that are beyond his competence; the results of the ORM, since the decision to hold secret measures against believers was made in violation of the rules of jurisdiction.

    The prosecutor takes time to familiarize himself with the motions filed and to prepare objections.

    The court grants the defense's request for publicity. Subject to social distancing, 5 masked and gloved listeners may be present in the courtroom.

    The next court hearing will be held on September 23, the court plans to move on to the debate of the parties, the prosecutor may request punishment for Lyudmila Shut.

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    September 23, 2020

    The state prosecutor recuses the presiding judge Natalia Derevyagina, pointing out that she had previously considered a criminal case against another believer, finding him guilty. As part of the previous proceedings, Lyudmila Shut acted as a witness, the judge in the verdict gave an assessment of her actions, and therefore, in the prosecutor's opinion, cannot be impartial in the present case.

    The court satisfies the prosecutor's application. This decision means that the judge entering the case must directly hear witnesses, examine video materials and written evidence. In fact, the process begins anew, and an elderly believer who comes to court on crutches will have to go through all the stages of the trial again.

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    April 29, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    Speaking in the debate, the prosecutor asks for Lyudmila Shut to be sentenced to 4 years of suspended imprisonment with a probationary period of 3 years and restriction of liberty for 1 year. The state prosecutor also asks to deprive the believer of the right to engage in activities related to participation in public organizations for 4 years. The verdict is scheduled to be announced on May 13.

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    May 13, 2021
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    May 19, 2021 First Instance Sentence

    Judge of the Nadezhdinskiy District Court of Primorsky Krai Lyudmila Setrakova finds believer Lyudmila Shut guilty of participating in the activities of an extremist community and sentences her to 4 years of suspended imprisonment with a probation period of 3 years and restriction of liberty for 1 year.

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    July 7, 2021 Court of Appeal

    Consideration of the appeal in the Primorsky Regional Court is postponed to July 28 due to the illness of Lyudmila Shut.

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    July 28, 2021 Court of Appeal

    The hearing on the appeal of Lyudmila Shut is postponed again due to the fact that the believer continues treatment for pneumonia.

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    August 25, 2021 Court of Appeal

    A panel of three judges of the Primorsky Krai Court, headed by Svetlana Gumenchuk, leaves the verdict for faith unchanged. 73-year-old Lyudmila Shut is still at large.