Photo: Valery Moskalenko

Criminal trial

In Khabarovsk, the prosecution requested 3 years in prison for reading a passage from Christ's Sermon on the Mount. The verdict will be announced on September 2

Khabarovsk Territory

On August 30, 2019, speaking in a debate in the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Khabarovsk, Assistant Prosecutor Anatoly Grigorenko announced that Valery Moskalenko, who has been in jail for 13 months, should be sent to a general regime colony for 3 years just because he professes faith in Jehovah God. Before the pre-trial detention center, Valeriy lived with his elderly mother and provided her with daily care, which she desperately needs. Read the chronicle of the process.

An episode of Moskalenko's life, which the local FSB considered a crime, was a meeting of friends in the conference room of the hotel, during which he read the words from the Gospel: "Learn from the lilies of the field how they grow: they do not work and do not spin, but I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory did not dress like any of them. If God dresses the plants of the field in this way, which are there today and will be thrown into the furnace tomorrow, then will He not clothe you, you of little faith? So never worry and say, 'What should we eat?' or 'What should we drink?' or 'What should I wear?'" Moskalenko explained to the court that his comments on the Sermon on the Mount were exclusively peaceful. He talked about how to overcome worries about economic difficulties.

Lawyers spoke in the debate of the parties. At the end of the debate of the parties, the defendant addressed the court with the last word, after which the court will retire to the deliberation room for sentencing.

Case of Moskalenko in Khabarovsk

Case History
On November 5, 2019, the Khabarovsk Regional Court handed down the final verdict in the case of Valeriy Moskalenko - a fine of 500,000 rubles. Previously, the Zheleznodorozhny District Court sentenced the peaceful believer to 2 years and 2 months of forced labor and 6 months of restricted freedom. The believer was charged under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code on the grounds that on April 21, 2018, he, “acting intentionally”, “with observance of conspiracy measures”, participated in a worship service of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The believer was thrown behind bars in August 2018 after the Khabarovsk FSB searched Valeriy’s home in his absence. For more than a year, the elderly single mother was deprived of her son’s support. In court, the expert stated that the words from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, which Moskalenko discussed among fellow believers, “are evidence of exclusivity propaganda and a call to continue the activities of a banned organization.” The prosecution also relied on the testimony of a witness, who stated in court that he did not know Valeriy and did not sign the interrogation protocol. The believer does not agree with the verdict and is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Khabarovsk Territory
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as “organising 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:
August 1, 2018
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Khabarovsk Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Case History