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Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Mass Detentions for Faith in Volgograd

Volgograd Region

On May 16, 2019, in Volgograd, at least 5 believers were detained by FSB and police officers, some at their workplace. The detainees Sergey Melnik (46), Valery Rogozin (57), Igor Egozaryan (54), Vyacheslav Osipov (48) and Ivan Valkovsky (36) were taken to the building of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation at 2 Gagarin Street.

Refinement. The text has been amended because the previously published information about the detention of Denis Peresunko and 81-year-old Vladimir Tarasov has not been confirmed.

Vyacheslav Osipov was detained right at his workplace. At the same time, law enforcement officers did not submit any documents or court orders. Earlier, searches were carried out in their apartments. According to some believers, the police behaved politely during the searches. The investigator decided to place everyone in a temporary detention facility for a period of 48 hours. Additional details are being established.

Law enforcers mistakenly mistake citizens' religion for participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Prominent public figures of Russia, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation, as well as international organizations - the European Union External Action Service, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - drew attention to this problem. Jehovah's Witnesses have nothing to do with extremism and insist on their complete innocence. The Russian government has repeatedly stated that the decisions of the Russian courts on the liquidation and prohibition of organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses "do not assess the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses, do not contain a restriction or prohibition to practice the above teachings individually."

Case of Rogozin and Others in Volgograd

Case History
In the spring of 2019, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against believers from Volgograd. Sergey Melnik, Igor Egozaryan, Valeriy Rogozin and Denis Peresunko were accused of organizing an extremist organization, and the latter two were also accused of financing it. They spent 5 to 7 months in the detention center. Lawyers drew the attention of Judge Irina Struk to numerous violations by the investigation. Some witnesses stated that their testimonies were falsified. Secret witnesses were interrogated incognito — according to them, they feared for their lives and health. In September 2021, the court sentenced four believers to prison terms ranging from 6 years to 6 years and 5 months. In March 2022, a court of appeal upheld the verdict. In August of the same year, Igor Egozaryan, Denis Peresunko and Valeriy Rogozin were taken 1,200 km from their home to correctional colony No. 6 in the Republic of Udmurtia, and Sergey Melnik was later transferred to correctional colony No. 5 in the Kirov Region.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Volgograd Region
Suspected of:
[to be determined]
Court case number:
May 16, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
[to be determined]
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Court case number:
1-2/2021 (1-56/2020)
Тракторозаводский районный суд г. Волгограда
Ирина Струк
Case History