News

Christensen Appeal Hearing to Continue May 8

On May 7, 2019, the Oryol Regional Court began reviewing the appeal of Dennis Christensen—one of Jehovah's Witnesses from Denmark—against his guilty verdict. The Dane continues to maintain that he is not guilty of any crime. The hearing will continue on May 8, 2019, at 11 a.m. in the Oryol Regional Court located at Oryol, Krasnoarmeyskaya Street, Building 6. Hearings are also scheduled for May 16 and 17, 2019.

Fourth Witness Imprisoned in Smolensk

On May 1, 2019, a court ruled to send Evgeniy Dechko, 30, to a detention center for two months. Evgeniy had been arrested in Dagomys, Krasnodar region, and brought to Smolensk, where he became the fourth imprisoned Witness in the city, joining three other men jailed earlier.

Three in Detention for Their Faith in Smolensk

On April 26, 2019, court decided on two months’ detention for three Witnesses,  Ruslan Korolev, 36, Valeriy Shalev, 41, and Viktor Malkov, 60. This is the second criminal case opened in Smolensk by the Federal Security Service (FSB). The men are suspected of participating in an extremist organization. Homes of the believers were searched.

Man Detained After Spycam Planted in Home

On April 24, 2019, court ruled to put Anton Ostapenko, 28, in detention for two months. Besides operating the power station, he also supports his disabled mother. After the detention, it was learned that a spycam had been placed in the home of a believer, leading to searches in ten private apartments and opening a criminal case against Anton, who is suspected of organizing an extremist organization.

Court Seizes Car and Cash of a Witness in Vladivostok

On April 16, 2019, court ordered the seizure of the car and currency of Valentin Osadchuk, who is now under house arrest and who had spent 275 days in custody before that. On the same day, completion of a preliminary investigation was announced, moving to the stage allowing the accused to get acquainted with the criminal case materials.

New Criminal Case in Novosibirsk: 70 Interrogated

On April 19, 2019, Federal Security Service (FSB) officers raided 12 private apartments of citizens thought to be Jehovah's Witnesses. In all, 70 persons were interrogated and three of them, one a woman, were detained. On the next day, the local court put the two men, 64-year-old Aleksandr Seredkin, and Valeriy Maletskov, 44, under house arrest. The third person detained, Marina Chaplykina, 48, was confined to a restricted residence.

More Banned Publications Planted in Homes

In April 2019, in the city of Novosibirsk and in the resort settlement of Inozemtsevo, Stavropol territory, law enforcement officers planted officially banned books in Witnesses’ homes while conducting the search. The same tactic was often used by officials in 2016-2017, but since the Russian Supreme Court has ruled to ban and liquidate all of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ local religious organizations (LRO) in Russia, this practice almost stopped.

Primorye Territory Resident Imprisoned for Her Faith

On April 19, 2019, law enforcement officers raided the homes of citizens thought to be Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Partizansk. During the searches Irina Buglak, 44, was arrested and on the next day sent to a detention center. The court decided that discussing the Bible in one’s private apartment  is “a serious crime against the foundations of constitutional order.”

New Case, Searches, and Interrogations in Krasnoyarsk Territory

On April 19, 2019,  law enforcement officers broke into five private apartments in order to conduct searches in the town of Minusinsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory. Detained for questioning were 30 citizens, who were later released. A criminal case was initiated against Dmitriy Maslov, 42, who was confined to a restricted residence.

Five Detained After April 19 Invasions in Three Regions

In the evening of April 19, 2019, simultaneously but in three different regions, law enforcement groups raided the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The raids took place in the city of Partizansk, Primorye Territory, and the towns of Sharypovo and Minusinsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory. Five people were detained; two of them are still in custody.

Hundreds of Letters From all Over the World Sent to Believers in Detention

By April 15, 2019, Yuriy Savelyev, who has been in detention for his faith for almost six months, received 715 letters of support and small gifts. Residents of many countries, e.g. Australia, Austria, Belarus, Poland, Russia, USA, Ukraine, UK and France, acted in  support of the 64-year-old Witness from Novosibirsk.

Searches of Two Believers in Surgut Declared Illegal

On March 27, 2019, Superior Court of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug satisfied the appeal complaint of Vyacheslav Boronos and Yevgeniy Kayryak. Warrants to search their apartments were declared illegal due to procedural violations.

Searches and Criminal Charges for Faith in Sverdlovsk Region

On April 16, 2019, in Karpinsk, Sverdlovsk region, the house and a car of Aleksandr and Anastasiya Prianikov were searched. Criminal cases against Aleksandr Prianikov as well as a local resident, Venera Dulova, were opened.

In Smolensk, Two Women of Faith Released After 191 Days of Detention

April 15, 2019, under a court decision in Smolensk, Nataliya Sorokina and Mariya Troshina were transferred to house arrest. The two women from Sychyovka, a small town in the Smolensk region, were released from the courtroom after over six months of imprisonment.

The Appeal Hearing in Christensen Case Be Held on May 7, 2019

Oryol Regional Court set a date for the appeal hearing against the verdict on Dennis Christensen, one of Jehovah's Witnesses from Denmark. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison because of his faith. The hearing will begin on May 7, 2019 in Oryol Regional Court, located at Oryol, Krasnoarmeyskaya str., 6.

Read more » Oryol Region

In Saratov, Detention for Three Witnesses Extended

On April 11, 2019, a Saratov court prolonged to one year the period of detention for Konstantin Bazhenov, Feliks Makhammadiyev and Aleksey Budenchuk. Their term will now expire June 12. The believers maintain a positive attitude despite unjust criminal persecution.

In Surgut, Both Jehovah's Witnesses Released from Detention

Sergey Loginov and Yevgeniy Fedin, who had been in detention in Surgut since February 15, were released on April 11, 2019. The court imposed a ban forbidding  them to leave the house at nighttime, to communicate with individuals involved in the case, or to use the mail, phone, and Internet.

In Orenburg, Investigator’s Petition for Toughening Preventive Measure for Two Believers Is Denied

On April 10, 2019, Orenburg Court refused to grant the petition of an investigator who wanted to block Vladimir Kochnev and Vladislav Kolbanov from leaving the house at nighttime. For now, they are prohibited from socializing with other people involved in the case, both by phone and via the Internet, and exchange emails.

Federal Security Service Hacks Accounts of Believers and Conducts Raids in Pskov Region

On April 3, 2019, in Porkhov, Pskov region, officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) broke into the apartment of Sergey and Svetlana Komissarov. The security forces pushed the 52-year-old man to the floor, seized the mobile devices of the couple and their guests, and demanded that no record be made of the incident. A criminal case was opened.

Read more » Pskov Region

Searches and Criminal Case for Faith in Khakassia

April 10, 2019, in Abakan, armed law enforcement officers in masks invaded four houses of Witnesses. Criminal cases against Roman Baranovskiy and his mother, 68-year-old Valentina Baranovskaya, were opened.

Read more » Khakassia