Photo: Eugene Yakku

Seizure of Property

In Arkhangelsk, the court arrested the cars of a family of believers

Arkhangelsk Region

On February 28, 2019, a judge of the Lomonosov District Court of Arkhangelsk arrested two cars of the Yakku family, registered to the head of the family, Yevgeny. He is accused of allegedly continuing the activities of the Local Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses "Central, Arkhangelsk". At the same time, Eugene Yakku has never been a member of this organization; Moreover, this organization was disbanded on the initiative of believers and has never been recognized as "extremist" by any court.

Only the judge and the prosecutor participated in the court session at which the decision to seize property was made. Neither Yevgeny Yakku nor his lawyer, as follows from the case materials, were invited to the meeting.

The arrest of the Opel Astra and Chevrolet Spark cars was requested by the investigator who is in charge of the Yakku case. According to the investigator, the cars had to be arrested in order to ensure the execution of a possible sentence, implying a fine in the amount of a 3-year salary or up to 700 thousand rubles.

The prosecutor supported the investigator's opinion, and the judge granted the petition, referring to Article 115 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Russia. This article of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that when deciding on the seizure of property, the court must indicate the specific, factual circumstances on the basis of which it made such a decision. The court simply repeated what was said in the investigator's petition, from which it is clear that Eugene Yakku is accused only of professing and spreading his faith.

Eugen Yakku considered the court's decision unjust and appealed it to a higher court.

Case of Yakku in Arkhangelsk

Case History
The criminal prosecution of Yevgeniy Yakku, an exemplary family man from Arkhangelsk, began in February 2019 - his house was searched, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against him. The believer was left without work, his accounts were blocked, cars were arrested. In May, after a year of surveillance of Kaleria Mamykina, a case was opened against her, the “corpus delicti” of which was talking about religion with friends at her home. After 7 months, the charges against her were dropped, in June 2021, without waiting for the restoration of her good name, Kaleria died of covid. Yakku’s case went to court in February 2020. The investigator accused Yevgeniy of allegedly continuing the activities of the LRO of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Arkhangelsk, which was not recognized as extremist. The believer sent complaints to the ECHR, and his wife to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The answer confirmed that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to practice their religion in groups. Despite this, in July 2021, the court sentenced the believer to a fine of 780,000 rubles. The Court of Appeal and Cassation upheld this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Arkhangelsk Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation he participated in religious services, which is interpreted as participating in and recruiting others into 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:
February 13, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for Arkhangelsk Region and Nenets Autonomous Area
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1), 282.2 (1.1)
Court case number:
1-4/2021 (1-249/2020)
Соломбальский районный суд
Case History