Photo: 19-year-old Daria Dulova

Criminal trial

In the Sverdlovsk region, a criminal case for faith was opened against a young girl and her disabled mother

Sverdlovsk Region

On May 30, 2019, in the city of Karpinsk (Sverdlovsk region), a criminal case was initiated against 19-year-old Daria Dulova solely on religious grounds. The investigation believes that she professes the views of Jehovah's Witnesses. For the same reason, her mother has been under recognizance not to leave for a year.

According to the investigation, the 19-year-old college student, colluding with her mother and acquaintance, "continued to actively participate in the activities of the banned local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses" and had a "psychological impact on society." On this basis, Senior Investigator of the Investigative Department for Krasnoturinsk of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Captain of Justice V. A. Sudin opened a criminal case against Daria for participation in the activities of an extremist organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The girl became the youngest accused in the trials against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia at the moment.

A year earlier, on July 30, 2018, a criminal case was initiated under a similar article against Daria's mother, Venera Dulova, who has a hearing disability. Then law enforcement officers searched their apartment and subjected Darya to psychological pressure and threats. They were actively interested in whether her parents read religious literature. The case of Darya Dulova is combined with the criminal cases of Venera Dulova and Aleksandr Pryanikov, another peaceful believer who was persecuted in Karpinsk.

Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia has recently become widespread, and law enforcement agencies are initiating cases under serious criminal articles, regardless of the age and gender of the believers. The Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, President Putin himself, 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, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights drew attention to this problem. The Russian government has repeatedly stated that the decisions of the Russian courts on the liquidation and prohibition of the organization 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."

The Case of Pryanikov and Others in Karpinsk

Case History
In June 2018, Venera Dulova and Aleksandr Pryanikov were detained for talking about the Bible. A criminal case was initiated against them under an article against extremism. A year later, Darya Dulova became the third defendant in the case. In January 2020, they were given suspended sentences ranging from 1 year to 2.5 years. The court of appeal in Yekaterinburg overturned the verdict and returned the case to the court of first instance. This time, the prosecutor requested a more severe punishment, but the court duplicated the first verdict. In March 2022, the court of appeal again overturned the verdict, acquitting the believers. The court cassation upheld this decision. However, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation overturned it in March 2023 and returned the case to the appeal stage, which returned the case to the prosecutor’s office, after which the court of cassation sent it for a new appeal hearing. A fourth appellate decision upheld the verdicts against Aleksandr and Venera. Darya is exempt from criminal liability, as the statute of limitations has expired. All three believers are defendants in another criminal case for their faith.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Sverdlovsk Region
Locality:
Karpinsk
Suspected of:
"Within the jurisdiction of the city of Karpinsk... together with a group of people, being fully aware that the religious organization Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia was declared extremist and its activities in the Russian Federation were prohibited, [he] participated in its activities by directly taking part in events, carrying out propaganda of its activities, familiarizing with religious literature."
Court case number:
11802650042000038
Initiated:
July 30, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigating:
СО в г. Краснотурьинске СУ Следственного комитета РФ по Свердловской области
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-11/2021 (1-184/2020; 1-5/2020; 1-167/2019)
Court:
Карпинский городской суд Свердловской области
Case History