Photo: Anatoliy Vilitkevich

Criminal Investigation and Trial

Anatoliy Vilitkevich was released from the pre-trial detention center


By the decision of the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan, Anatoliy Vilitkevich, who had been detained in a pre-trial detention center for more than two months, was transferred to house arrest. On June 21, the court granted his lawyer's request to change the measure of restraint and agreed with the arguments that the accused did not pose a threat to society and would not try to leave the city.

Anatoliy Vilitkevich was detained on April 12 in Ufa on charges of "organizing the activities of an extremist organization" (part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code). His wife, Alyona, was one of the authors of a collective letter to the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, which drew attention to the massive repression of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout the country. When Anatoliy was taken away by the police, one of the officers told his wife that now she would not see him for a long time, and the investigator in the case advised her to "look for a new husband."

It is noteworthy that earlier the courts rejected the lawyer of Anatoliy Vilitkevich in petitions to change the measure of restraint. But on June 20, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office with a request to check the legality and validity of the criminal prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses. A day earlier, more than 60 human rights defenders and public figures signed an open letter demanding an end to repressions against believers.

(See also video interviews with Alyona Vilitkevich and other victims of mass searches in Ufa.)

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