Criminal Investigation and Trial

In Bashkiria, a believer was sent to a pre-trial detention center for 52 days


During the mass searches that took place in Ufa on April 10, 2018, one of the local residents, 32-year-old Anatoliy Vilitkevich, was arrested. He is charged under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of an extremist organization) due to the fact that he allegedly professes the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses.

On April 12, 2018, Larisa Mokhova, judge of the Leninsky District Court of Ufa, issued a decision on the election of a preventive measure for Anatoly Vilitkevich in the form of detention until June 2, 2018 inclusive. At the same time, the court ignored a number of legal requirements, for example, it did not indicate in its decision why it was impossible to choose a milder measure, and also did not check the validity of Anatoly Vilitkevich's involvement in the crime imputed to him.

On April 16, 2018, Anatoliy Vilitkevich's lawyers filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan against the court's decision to choose a preventive measure in the form of detention. On April 19, 2018, during the appeal hearing in the Judicial Collegium for Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan, the decision to detain the believer was upheld.

The arrest was a direct consequence of the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of April 20, 2017, which imposed a ban on the activities of all registered legal entities of Jehovah's Witnesses, including the association in Ufa. The decision of the Supreme Court is appealed to the ECHR as a matter of priority.

Case of Vilitkevich in Ufa

Case History
Anatoliy Vilitkevich became one of the first Jehovah’s Witnesses who was imprisoned for his faith. After a series of searches conducted at the homes of believers in Ufa in April 2018, Vilitkevich was placed in a pre-trial detention center for 2 months. The arrest was preceded by surveillance: in the apartment where he lives with his wife, the special services installed hidden video footage. For friendly meetings and communication on spiritual topics with friends, Vilitkevich was accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. Since October 2020, the case has been considered in the Leninsky District Court of Ufa. At the hearings, some prosecution witnesses did not recognize the believer, and those who know him expressed disagreement with the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The prosecutor asked the court to sentence Vilitkevich to 7 years in prison. On September 27, 2021, judge Oksana Ilalova sentenced him to 2 years probation with a probation period of 3 years and restriction of liberty for 6 months. On December 16, 2021, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan approved the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
according to the investigation he participated in religious services, which is interpreted as participation in the activity of an extremist organisation (with reference to the decision of the Russian Supreme Court on the liquidation of all 396 registered organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Court case number:
April 2, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Leninskiy Inter-district Investigative Department of the city of Ufa of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Bashkortostan
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-16/2021 (1-235/2020)
Ленинский районный суд г. Уфы Республики Башкортостан
Оксана Илалова
Case History