Photo: Andrey Stupnikov. District Court of Krasnoyarsk (2018)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Krasnoyarsk: new mass searches in the homes of believers

Krasnoyarsk Territory

Searches of approximately 20 apartments and houses where citizens suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses live took place on November 7, 2018, starting at 5:00 a.m. They were sanctioned by the Central District Court of Krasnoyarsk in the criminal case against Andrey Stupnikov, who was arrested on July 3, 2018 on charges of "organizing the activities of an extremist organization" (with reference to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate all 396 registered organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses).

During the searches, phones, tablets, computers, flash drives, notebooks, photographs and the like were seized. After the searches, almost all citizens were taken to the Investigative Committee for interrogation. Some were detained for more than 3 hours. There is no information about new arrests. FSB officers took an active part in the events. Some were threatened with criminal prosecution if they refused to testify against fellow believers.

The Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights referred to such criminal cases in its appeal to the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia. "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 Council considers that such an interpretation is not consistent with 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 Stupnikov in Krasnoyarsk

Case History
In July 2018, FSB officers arrested engineer Andrei Stupnikov at the Krasnoyarsk airport. The next day, an investigator opened the first criminal case in the region under an extremist article against him for reading the Bible and praying together with friends. He spent 337 days in a pre-trial detention center, 124 days under house arrest and about 2 years under a ban on certain actions. In February 2020, Andrey Stupnikov’s case went to court, and in June 2021 he was sentenced to 6 years in a general regime colony. The appeal upheld this sentence, and the believer was sent to a penal colony in the Kirov region to serve his sentence. In August 2022, the cassation court upheld the decision of the appellate instance.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnoyarsk Territory
Suspected of:
according to the investigation they participated in religious services, which is interpreted as “organising 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:
July 3, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
initially, Investigative Department of the Zheleznodorozhnyy District of the Investigative Committee of the city of Krasnoyarsk, later the case was transferred to the Second Investigation Department of the First Directorate for Investigating Especially Im
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-6/2021 (1-113/2020)
Case History