Photo: Alexander Solovyov

Unjust Verdicts

A guilty verdict for faith was passed in Perm. A large fine was imposed

Perm Territory

The Ordzhonikidze District Court of Perm appointed 300,000 rubles instead of the 3.5 years in prison requested by the prosecutor to Jehovah's Witness Alexander Solovyov. The verdict was announced on July 4, 2019. The believer insists on his complete innocence and will appeal.

The case against Solovyov was initiated in May 2018. The investigation was carried out by the Investigative Committee for the Perm Territory. The indictment was approved by the Deputy Prosecutor of the Perm Territory Alexander Deryshov. There are no victims in the criminal case.

What is the essence of the accusations? Solovyov was charged with participating in the activities of an organization banned by the court, citing the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate all 396 registered organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2017, a small group of Perm residents who in the past professed the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses, on the instructions of the "E" center, having received hidden recording equipment from operatives, began to hold discussions with Solovyov about the Bible. Police Lieutenant Colonel K. Ulitin sent the recordings of these discussions for examination to the catechist of the Russian Orthodox Church, a graduate of the Perm Theological Seminary, Alexei Mosin. The expert "found" in Solovyov's words signs of psychological pressure on the interlocutor, which, in turn, according to prosecutors, serves as confirmation that Solovyov "continued the activities" of the banned organization. He was charged under the article "Participation in the activities of an extremist organization" (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

In Perm and the Perm Territory, several similar criminal cases have been initiated against Jehovah's Witnesses. Russian and foreign leaders and organizations unanimously condemn the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. These include the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation, prominent public figures of Russia, the European Union External Action Service, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 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."

Update. On September 5, 2019, the Perm Regional Court upheld the conviction of Aleksandr Solovyov.

Case of Solovyev in Perm

Case History
In May 2018, a criminal case was opened against Alexander Solovyov from Perm for participating in the activities of an extremist organization. The reason for this was audio recordings made on the instructions of Center “E” by a man who previously professed the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Lieutenant Colonel Utkin sent these records for examination to the catechist of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Perm Theological Seminary. The indictment collected almost all the common myths about Jehovah’s Witnesses: “incitement to hatred”, “calls for the destruction of families”, “refusal of medical care” and others. After the search and interrogation, Aleksandr spent six months under house arrest. The prosecutor’s office asked to send the believer to a colony for 3.5 years. On July 4, 2019, the judge of the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Perm, Denis Shvetsov, found Solovyov guilty and sentenced him to a fine of 300 thousand rubles.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Perm Territory
Suspected of:
according to the investigation he participated in religious services, which is interpreted as participating in 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:
May 22, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Perm Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Орджоникидзевский районный суд Перми
Швецов Денис Иванович
Case History