The case of Dvurechenskiy in Vyselki

Case History

Sergey Dvurechensky is one of the residents of the village of Vyselki, whose house was invaded by security forces during mass searches of believers in February 2022. In June 2023, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against him on charges of participating in the activities of an extremist organization. Six months later, the case went to court. The accusation is based on the testimony of a secret witness under the pseudonym “Shepherd” who secretly recorded the services of Jehovah’s Witnesses on video. His testimony appears in 6 other similar cases.

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    February 13, 2022 Search

    Searches are being conducted at at least 31 addresses in the village of Vyselki and neighboring settlements. In total, at least 51 people are affected, including those who are not Jehovah's Witnesses. Among the victims of the actions of the security forces is the family of Sergei Dvurechensky. Electronic devices, bank cards and personal records are seized from believers.

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    June 15, 2023 Case initiated Art. 282.2 (2) Secret witness

    The Investigative Committee is initiating a criminal case against Sergey Dvurechensky under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. It is based on the testimony of a secret witness under the pseudonym "Shepherd" who has attended Jehovah's Witnesses services in the past. Later, the man again began to communicate with believers and film online worship services in order to transmit this information to the Center for Countering Extremism.

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    July 11, 2023 Rosfinmonitoring

    Rosfinmonitoring is blocking the accounts of Dvurechensky and several other believers from Vyselki.

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    August 10, 2023 Interrogation Recognizance agreement

    The investigator summons the believer for interrogation and takes from him a written undertaking not to leave the place.

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    August 15, 2023 Art. 282.2 (2)

    Sergey Dvurechensky was charged with committing a crime under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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    December 6, 2023

    The criminal case is taken over by investigator V. I. Danilin.

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    December 28, 2023 Case went to court

    The case goes to the Vyselkovsky District Court. It will be considered by judge Oksana Melnikova. She is also hearing a case brought on similar charges against another local believer, Irina Zinina and Elena Rumyantseva.

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    February 8, 2024 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The first hearing is taking place. Dvurechensky refuses a lawyer by appointment, a lawyer enters the case by agreement. The believer petitions for the consolidation of his case into one proceeding with 6 similar cases. Consideration of the application at the request of the prosecutor shall be postponed.

    10 people, including his wife, come to support the believer.

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    February 20, 2024 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The court agrees with the prosecutor's arguments and refuses the believer to join the cases.

    The defense requests that the case be returned to the prosecutor to eliminate the shortcomings.

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    March 26, 2024 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The court refuses to return the case to the prosecutor. The indictment is announced. Sergei Dvurechensky is charged with the fact that he "took part in religious teaching and sermons ... conducted and listened to lectures based on the religious literature "Jehovah's Witnesses" ... participated in the discussion of the "Holy Scriptures" (the Bible) ... emphasizing that these books contain true knowledge of God." However, the indictment states that the investigation has not established the exact place, time and dates of these actions of the believer.

    The results of studies of the records of divine services contained in the document describe in detail the actions not of Dvurechensky, but of other people. In addition, the conclusions of an expert linguist and an expert psychologist coincide word for word in places.

    The believer declares that he does not plead guilty.