Photo: search of believers (2016)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In June, the Pskov FSB conducted mass searches in the homes of believers

Pskov Region

In June 2018, officers of the FSB of Russia in the Pskov region, with the support of the armed National Guard, conducted a series of searches in the homes of peaceful Pskov residents who are suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and continuing the activities of a liquidated extremist organization. The searches were authorized by Judge Galina Belik, deputy chairman of the Pskov City Court.

At least 5 searches were conducted in the homes of believers on June 3, 2018. In some cases, law enforcement officers broke down the doors. Among the victims of the searches are 2-year-old children and 80-year-old people. Citizens were interrogated until late at night. At least three were taken to the FSB building for questioning. During the searches, law enforcement officers made caustic remarks in connection with the religion of citizens. Tablets and mobile phones were confiscated.

The case was initiated on May 31, 2018 against Gennadiy Shpakovsky and other unidentified persons under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. It is being investigated by the FSB of Russia in the Pskov region. The searches were carried out by FSB officers, including Sergey Bogodukhov, Ivan Kalita, Tigran Merzabasov, Irina Pravdivtseva, M. Shogenov. Gennady Shpakovsky was chosen as a preventive measure in the form of a written undertaking not to leave.

The Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights referred to this criminal case in its appeal to the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia. "The accusations of citizens that they read the Bible together and pray to God are interpreted as "continuation of the activities of an extremist organization," the appeal says. - The Council believes that such an interpretation does not correspond to the legal position of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. There is a contradiction between the declared position of the Government of the Russian Federation and law enforcement practice. This cannot but cause concern, since criminal prosecutions and arrests have become systemic."

Case of Shpakovskiy in Pskov

Case history
Since the beginning of 2018, 60-year-old Gennady Shpakovsky has been under surveillance. In the summer of the same year, the Investigative Department of the FSB Directorate for the Pskov Region opened a criminal case against a peaceful believer. In June, the Pskov FSB, with the support of the armed National Guard, conducted a series of searches of local believers, including Gennady. He was accused of organizing and financing extremist activities. After 2 years of investigations and trials, the judge of the Pskov City Court, Galina Belik, sentenced Shpakovsky to 6.5 years in prison, although there were no victims in the case. One of the prosecution witnesses appealed to the judge with a request: “Please do not punish him severely, because he is not guilty of anything!” On August 3, 2020, the Court of Appeal replaced the prison term with a suspended sentence.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Pskov Region
Locality:
Pskov
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 to liquidate all 396 registered organisations Jehovah’s Witnesses).
Court case number:
11807580001000027
Initiated:
May 31, 2018
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB for the Pskov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Court case number:
1-573/2019
Court:
Псковский городской суд Псковской области
Background