Photo: Sergey and Anastasia Polyakov (Omsk)

Criminal Investigation and Trial

For the first time a young woman was sent to prison for her Christian faith

Omsk Region

On July 6, 2018, Nina Iordan, judge of the Azov District Court of the Omsk Region, sent a young woman, Anastasia Polyakova, as well as her husband, 46-year-old Sergey Polyakov, to the Omsk pre-trial detention center for 2 months. The couple ended up in prison because they are suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. Both of them are charged with Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (participation in the activities of an extremist organization). They have been prosecuted.

Early in the morning of July 4, 2018, Sergey and Anastasia, while at their home in Omsk, were awakened by an invasion of their home by law enforcement officers. The door to their apartment was broken into. In fact, they were detained and held in custody for more than 2 days, until the court chose a measure of restraint.

The investigation team is headed by Major of Justice Denis Loginovsky, an investigator of the Azov District Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Omsk Region. Law enforcers in different regions of Russia mistakenly accept 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.

Anastasia and Sergey can receive letters of support. Letters in foreign languages are not allowed to enter the pre-trial detention center, with the exception of children's drawings. Address for letters:

Sergey Valerievich Polyakov, born in 1972, FKU "Detention Center No. 1 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Omsk Region", 86 Ordzhonikidze St., Omsk, 644007. E-mails are also accepted through the FSIN-letter system. (Criminal prosecution topics should not be discussed in the letters.)

Anastasia Andreevna Polyakova, born in 1984, FKU "Detention Center No. 1 of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Omsk Region", 86 Ordzhonikidze St., Omsk, 644007. E-mails are also accepted through the FSIN-letter system. (Criminal prosecution topics should not be discussed in the letters.)

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.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Omsk Region
Locality:
Omsk
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:
11802520007000028
Initiated:
June 20, 2018
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
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:
1-801/2019
Court:
Первомайский районный суд г. Омска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Денис Першукевич
Background