Photo: Arkadya Hakobyan

Criminal trial

In Kabardino-Balkaria, a believer appealed against an unjust verdict


On December 29, 2018, an appeal was filed with the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic against the verdict of the Prokhladnensky District Court of the KBR, which found Arkadya Hakobyan guilty under Part 1 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and sentenced him to 120 hours of compulsory labor. The prosecutor asked for a 3-year suspended sentence.

The court's guilty decision is based on the confusing and contradictory testimony of five prosecution witnesses, which was changed and supplemented many times during the trial. The veracity of their testimony is highly questionable.

The court did not take into account the facts testifying in favor of the accused, as well as the circumstances that positively characterize Arkadya as a calm, non-conflict person who deeply respects people of different nationalities and religions. The criminal prosecution of this peaceful citizen is a direct violation of his civil rights.

It is noteworthy that the guilty verdict was announced immediately after the statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin about the need to carefully understand why Jehovah's Witnesses are declared extremists.

Extremism, including incitement to hatred and enmity, completely contradicts the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, peaceful citizens living according to the commandments of Jesus Christ. The defense asks the court to cancel the decision of the Prokhladnensky District Court and fully acquit Arkady Hakobyan, recognizing his right to rehabilitation.

Case of Akopyan in Prokhladny

Case history
In the late 1980s, Arkadya Hakobyan, his wife and three children fled ethnic cleansing in Azerbaijan. More than 25 years later, as a peaceful elderly man, Arkadia became a victim of religious repression. In June 2016, a criminal case was opened against him for a public speech in which he allegedly humiliated the dignity of followers of other religions. In May 2017, hearings began in the Prokhladnensky District Court, during which it turned out that the testimony of witnesses underlying the case was false, and the expert’s opinion was replete with errors. The prosecutor demanded 3 years of probation for the believer. In December 2018, Judge Oleg Golovashko sentenced the believer to 120 hours of compulsory labor. In March 2019, the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic overturned the conviction. Hakobyan was cleared of all charges.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Court case number:
June 11, 2016
Current case stage:
Case dismissed
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282 (1)
Court case number:
[i18n] Итог дела:
дело прекращено, Аркадя Акопян считается несудимым
[i18n] Расследовалось:
МРСО СУ СК РФ по Кабардино-Балкарской Республике
[i18n] Рассмотрено судом первой инстанции:
Прохладненский районный суд Кабардино-Балкарской Республики
Олег Анатольевич Головашко
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Верховный Суд Кабардино-Балкарской Республики