Photo: Sergey Sergeev (left) and Yuri Belosludtsev with his wife Elena (right)

Criminal Investigation and Trial

In Primorye, Sergey Sergeyev and Yuri Belosludtsev were transferred from the pre-trial detention center to house arrest

Primorye Territory

At the end of September 2019, a court in Primorye Territory ruled to release two believers from the pre-trial detention center. Sergey Sergeyev and Yuriy Belosludtsev from Luchegorsk were placed under house arrest. Cases of faith against them continue to be investigated.

On September 24 and 26, 2019, the Primorsky Regional Court considered two appeals against the decisions of the Pozharsky District Court of the Primorsky Territory regarding the preventive measure of 64-year-old Sergey Sergeev and 55-year-old Yuriy Belosludtsev. In both cases, the presiding judges (Alexei Gorbachev and Irina Zhukova, respectively) overturned the rulings of the lower court and softened the measure of restraint. Believers are placed under house arrest, which imposes some restrictions on their actions (including a ban on the use of mobile communications and the Internet, receiving parcels and letters).

Yuriy and Sergey were detained on March 17, 2019 during mass searches and interrogations. Two days later, they were placed in a pre-trial detention center. They are accused of "promoting the activities of a banned organization [Jehovah's Witnesses]."

Both believers are still under investigation and face up to 10 years in prison for peacefully practicing their faith. In Primorsky Krai, Dmitry Barmakin and Irina Buglak remain behind bars on similar charges.

Case of Sergeyev and Belosludtsev in Luchegorsk

Case history
In March 2019, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case for their faith against Yuriy Belosludtsev and Sergey Sergeyev from the village of Luchegorsk. They were accused of participating in the activities of an extremist organization and involving others in it. The investigation considered that the men were in a “criminal conspiracy” to “study and discuss religious material on topics about Jehovah.” Later, operatives searched their homes. The believers spent more than six months in a pre-trial detention center, and then another 5 months under house arrest. In June 2020, court hearings began, and a year and a half later, Belosludtsev and Sergeyev were sentenced to 6 years probation. The prosecutor asked for a sentence of 5.5 and 5 years in prison, respectively. The Court of Appeal and the Court of Cassation upheld the conviction.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as organising and 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:
March 11, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Committee of Russia for the Primorye Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1.1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-4/2022 (1-17/2021; 1-145/2020)
Пожарский районный суд Приморского края
Евгений Стефанюк