The case of Margarita Moiseenko and others in Zeya

Case History

In October 2020, searches were carried out in 8 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which were supervised by the FSB. In November 2021, a criminal case was initiated against Margarita Moiseenko, whose husband Konstantinhas already been sentenced to 6 years suspended for believing in Jehovah God, Galina Yatsyk and Yelena Yatsyk for participating in the activities of an extremist organization. The women were given a written undertaking not to leave the place. In March 2023, their case went to court. The prosecutor requested 2.5 to 3 years in prison for women. In September, the court sentenced them to suspended sentences: Margarita Moiseenko to three years, Elena Yatsyk to two and a half, and Galina Yatsyk to two years. In November, an appeal upheld the verdict, excluding the ban on holding certain positions.

  • #
    March 21, 2019

    Searches are being conducted in the house of Margarita Moiseenko and her husband Konstantin, as well as in the homes of other believers in the Amur Region.

  • #
    October 13, 2020

    Searches are being conducted in the homes of 8 Jehovah's Witnesses, including Elena Yatsyk and pensioner Galina Yatsyk. Phones and laptops are seized from believers.

  • #
    November 22, 2021

    V. S. Obukhov, an investigator of the Investigative Department of the FSB of Russia for the Amur Region, who specializes in religious persecution in several cities of the Amur Region, makes a decision to initiate a criminal case under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against Margarita Moiseenko, Galina Yatsik and Elena Yatsyk. They are accused of "participation in the activities of a religious association, in respect of which the court made a final decision on liquidation in connection with the implementation of extremist activities."

  • #
    February 15, 2022

    Investigator Obukhov is prosecuting Margarita Moiseenko, Galina Yatsyk and Elena Yatsyk as defendants under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

    All women are placed on recognizance not to leave.

  • #
    March 10, 2023 Case went to court

    The case goes to the Zeysky District Court of the Amur Region.

  • #
    May 22, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The judge grants Margarita Moiseenko's petition for the admission of her husband Konstantin as her representative in the trial.

    Prosecutor Olga Chursina announces the charge, which states that the defendants committed unlawful acts while participating in worship services. The defense expresses its disagreement with the charges. In her attitude towards him, Margarita Moiseenko says: "I profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, but this is not a crime and has nothing to do with extremism." She continues: "I consider the criminal case to be politically motivated repressions, since the investigating body groundlessly and unreasonably replaced the concept of 'exercising the right of citizens to freedom of religion', which includes the right to read the Bible and discuss it with friends, with the concept of 'carrying out extremist activities.'"

  • #
    June 20, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The state prosecutor reads out the written materials of the criminal case, including the results of the photographic portrait examination from the case of Konstantin Moiseenko. The judge asks to read out only those materials that are relevant to the criminal case under consideration, to which the prosecutor objects, explaining that this examination is evidence of the guilt of the defendants.

    Further, the results of religious studies and psychological-linguistic examinations are read out.

  • #
    June 26, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The prosecutor reads out from the 6th to the 9th volumes of the criminal case, which contain protocols of searches and protocols of inspection of objects seized from other believers from the Amur region. The judge again asks the prosecutor to disclose only what relates to the defendants. The prosecutor cannot find the protocols with the names of the defendants in this case.

  • #
    August 10, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Prosecution witnesses are being questioned. Someone uses Article 51 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, while others point to the falsification of the testimony given by them during the preliminary investigation.

    One of the witnesses testifies that she never heard calls for violent actions from the defendants and did not feel any hostility on their part. On the contrary, she speaks of them as kind, peaceful, always ready to help people.

    During the hearing, the judge repeatedly states that the defendants are not accused of extremism.

  • #
    August 23, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The questioning of prosecution witnesses is ongoing. The defendants testify.

  • #
    September 14, 2023 Closing arguments for the defense Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor asks to sentence the believers to imprisonment in a penal colony: Margarita Moiseenko - 3 years, Galina Yatsyk and Elena Yatsyk - 2.5 years each.

  • #
    September 21, 2023 In the courtroom First Instance Sentence Prosecution of several family members Art. 282.2 (2)
  • #
    November 21, 2023 Art. 282.2 (2) Court of Appeal