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Ban of legal entities

In Kirov, a new criminal case for faith and the arrest of 5 citizens, including a Polish citizen

Kirov Region

On October 9, 2018, searches were carried out in Kirov in the homes of citizens accused of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as relatives who do not share their beliefs. 5 people were detained, including a foreigner. According to investigators, the question of the further measure of restraint for them should be decided on October 10-11, 2018.

The list of detainees includes 50-year-old Andrzej Oniszczuk (a citizen of the Republic of Poland living in Russia), 65-year-old Vladimir Korobeynikov, 25-year-old Andrey Suvorkov, 40-year-old Yevgeny Suvorkov and 44-year-old Maxim Khalturin. During searches in their homes, all electronic devices were seized. The investigating authorities searched not only believers, but also their relatives who do not profess the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The case was initiated by investigators of the Investigative Committee under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of activities of an extremist community) and Part 1 of Article 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (financing of extremist activities). The official report of the investigation states that the citizens "organized meetings of followers and participants of this association in various apartments in compliance with the actions characteristic of this association, expressed in the joint singing of biblical songs, improving the skills of missionary activity, studying religious literature, the so-called "Holy Scripture" (Bible), which is included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials Containing Doctrine Jehovah's Witnesses."

As can be seen, this criminal case is a direct consequence of the decision of the Vyborg City Court to recognize as extremist material the translation of the Bible into modern Russian, which was seized at customs from Jehovah's Witnesses.

After the Russian Supreme Court liquidated and declared all Jehovah's Witnesses organizations "extremist", law enforcement agencies throughout the country mistakenly interpret peaceful meetings of believers as "extremist activity." Dozens of human rights activists, as well as the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation , express concern about the growing religious repression.

Case of Oniszczuk and Others in Kirov

Case History
In October 2018, searches of believers were carried out in Kirov. A criminal case under extremist articles was initiated against seven local residents, five of them were taken into custody, including Polish citizen Andrzej Oniszczuk, who had been in captivity for almost a year. His fellow believers spent 3 to 11 months in jail and another 6 to 9 months under house arrest. The men were included in the Rosfinmonitoring list. One of the accused, Yuriy Geraskov, died of a long illness a week before the trial. In January 2021, court hearings began. In June 2022, the believers were given suspended sentences ranging from 2.5 to 6.5 years. Yuriy Geraskov was also found guilty of extremism, but the criminal case was dismissed due to his death. The appellate court upheld the verdict against the believers.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Kirov Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, “they organised meetings of followers and participants of the association [Jehovah’s Witnesses] in different flats, performing actions characteristic of this association: singing Bible songs together, improving skills for missionary activity, as well as studying religious literature, the so-called ‘Holy Scriptures’ (Bible), which is on the Federal List of Extremist Materials and contains the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Court case number:
October 3, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Kirov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-2/2022 (1-5/2021; 1-123/2020)
Court of First Instance:
Первомайский районный суд Кирова
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Тимур Юсупов
Case History