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Criminal Investigation and Trial

In the Kemerovo region, two believers were placed in custody

Kemerovo Region

On July 22, 2018, in the city of Berezovsky (Kemerovo Region), at least three dwellings of believers were searched. One of the apartments of the FSB officers in the Kemerovo region decided to storm from the balcony, despite the fact that the hostess opened the door to another group of employees. At the same time, a window was broken, the fragments of which injured the hostess (dissection of the forehead and arm).

Later, the believers were interrogated by the senior investigator of the FSB of Russia in the Kemerovo region, M. I. Efimov, and a number of other employees. On July 24, by the decision of the judge of the Central District Court of Kemerovo N.M. Naumova, two believers, Sergey Britvin and Vadim Levchuk, were placed in custody until September 19, 2018. Sergey Britvin is a disabled person of the second group. A criminal case was opened under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (participation in the activities of an extremist organization). This case, as in the case of Dennis Christensen, is based on the testimony of a "secret witness", whose name the investigation does not disclose.

Law enforcement agencies across the country mistakenly interpret peaceful meetings of believers as "extremist activity." Dozens of human rights defenders, as well as the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation , expressed concern about the growing religious repression.

Case of Levchuk and Britvin in Beryozovsky

Case history
In January 2021, the sentence came into force for two miners from the city of Berezovsky - 4 years each in a general regime colony due to the fact that they profess the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both have families. At the time of Vadim Levchuk’s arrest, his son was a minor. Sergey Britvin has a disability group II. The persecution began in July 2018, when a wave of searches took place in the city, after which the Central District Court of Kemerovo placed both in a pre-trial detention center. While the investigation and trial were going on, the believers spent almost 2 years in prison. The case of Britvin and Levchuk was investigated by the FSB. No casualties or damage were identified. The believers were found guilty of organizing the activities of an extremist organization only because they communicated with friends on spiritual topics. The state prosecutor recommended that the court appoint 6.5 years in prison for each. The believers pleaded not guilty, insisting that practicing their religion is not prohibited by law. On December 30, 2021, they were released from the colony, having served their sentence in full.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Kemerovo Region
Locality:
Beryozovsky
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:
11807320001000380
Initiated:
July 19, 2018
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigating:
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Kemerovo Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-139/2019
Court:
Берёзовский городской суд Кемеровской области
Judge:
Ирина Воробьёва
Background