Photo: Invasion of believers in Tomsk (2018)

Criminal Investigation and Trial

In Omsk, a husband and wife were arrested for their faith, a criminal case was opened

Omsk Region

On July 6, 2018, 46-year-old Sergey Polyakov and his wife Anastasia, who were suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, were sent to the Omsk pre-trial detention center. They were detained during searches conducted on July 4, 2018 in the homes of local residents.

The Polyakovs did not get in touch for 2 days, the door to their apartment was found broken open. Simultaneous searches were carried out in at least 4 dwellings of Omsk residents. Starting at 7:00 a.m., the searches continued until 3:00 p.m. and were carried out in houses, on land plots, in outbuildings and in parked cars of citizens. All possible electronic storage media and electronic devices were seized. During the search, the witnesses actively helped law enforcement officers, prompted and even tried to interrogate believers. The case is being conducted by Denis Loginovsky, an investigator of the Azov District Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Omsk Region.

It is not yet known under what articles the criminal case was initiated. However, law enforcement officers in different regions of Russia mistake the joint religion of citizens for participation in an extremist organization. Prominent public figures of Russia, as well as the Presidential Council for Human Rights, have already drawn attention to this problem.

Case of the Polyakovs and Others in Omsk

Case history
In 2018, the Polyakovs were arrested in Omsk. During the arrest, Sergei was beaten and forced to wipe his blood off the floor. The couple spent five months in solitary confinement and three months under house arrest. In 2019, the Investigative Committee again searched the houses of believers, and Gaukhar Bektemirova and Dinara Dyusekeyeva became defendants in the case. The court considered the case for almost a year. Evidence of guilt was even sought in cartoons seized during the search. In November 2020, Sergey Polyakov was sentenced to three years in a penal colony, and three women were given suspended sentences: Anastasiya Polyakova—two and a half years; Gaukhar Bektemirova—two years and three months; Dinara Dyusekeyeva—two years. In May 2021, the appeal court upheld the verdict, and in June 2022, this verdict was upheld by the cassation court. In November 2022, Sergei Polyakov was released after serving his full term in a penal colony, and in January 2023, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation partially granted Polyakov’s appeal regarding the term of his sentence.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Omsk Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation she participated in religious services, which is interpreted as participating 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:
June 20, 2018
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Azov Inter-district Investigative Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Omsk Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Court case number:
Первомайский районный суд г. Омска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Денис Першукевич