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Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

A 39-year-old believer was arrested in Khabarovsk

Magadan Region,   Khabarovsk Territory

On the evening of May 30, 2018, 39-year-old Ivan Puyda, who is suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, was taken into custody in Khabarovsk. His apartment was searched, during which his wife Anastasia and her mother Olga were also present.

It is noteworthy that the arrest warrant for Ivan Puida was issued by a court in Magadan, where three believers were arrested on the same day .

Russian law enforcement officers mistakenly mistake the joint religion of citizens for participation in an extremist organization and bring charges against them of "organizing" or "participating" in "extremist activities", and even of "financing" it (282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

The Case of Puyda and Others in Magadan

Case History
After a series of searches in Magadan in May 2018, Konstantin Petrov, Yevgeniy Zyablov and Sergey Yerkin were placed in a pretrial detention center. On the same day in Khabarovsk, the home of Ivan Puyda was searched. He was arrested and then taken 1600 km away to a pretrial detention center in Magadan. The believers spent 2 to 4 months behind bars, and then were placed under house arrest. In March 2019, the FSB conducted another series of searches. The number of defendants in the case reached 13, including 6 women, and elderly. The investigator regarded the holding of peaceful meetings for worship as organizing, participating and financing the activity of an extremist organization. In nearly 4 years of investigation, the case against 13 believers grew to 66 volumes. It went to court in March 2022. At the hearings, it became clear that the case was based on the testimony of a secret witness – an FSB informant, who secretly recorded peaceful meetings for worship. In March 2024, the believers were given suspended sentences from 3 to 7 years.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Magadan Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as “organising 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:
May 30, 2018
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Magadan Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Court case number:
1–6/2024 (1-12/2023, 1-220/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Магаданский городской суд Магаданской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Татьяна Белаева
Case History