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Criminal trial

Another criminal case for faith opened in the Bryansk region

Bryansk Region

On October 16, 2019, in the city of Novozybkov (Bryansk Region), a new criminal case was opened against 42-year-old believer Vladimir Khokhlov on suspicion of belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses. The investigation is being conducted by the Novozybkovsky Interdistrict Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Bryansk Region.

According to the case file, Khokhlov is accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization, as well as financing it (respectively, Part 2 of Article 282.2 and Part 1 of Article 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The case is being investigated by Senior Lieutenant of Justice I. Postevoy. The decision to initiate a criminal case against Khokhlov can be appealed.

This is the second criminal case that has been initiated against peaceful believers in Novozybkov. Earlier, as a result of mass searches in the Bryansk region , they stopped communicating and later arrested 31-year-old Olga Silaeva and 42-year-old Tatyana Shamsheva. They have been languishing in the Bryansk pre-trial detention center for more than 4 months.

Reading the Bible and peaceful meetings of believers continue to be misinterpreted by law enforcement agencies as participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Because of this loose interpretation of the "extremist" articles of the Criminal Code, the number of people persecuted only for their adherence to their religious views is steadily growing.

Case of Khokhlov and Zhinzhikov in Novozybkov

Case History
On September 3, 2020, the Novozybkovsky City Court found Vladimir Khokhlov, Eduard Zhinzhikov, Tatyana Shamsheva and Olga Silaeva guilty of extremist activities and sentenced them to imprisonment for a term of 12 to 15 months, followed by restriction of freedom and a ban on holding leadership positions. Since the believers had already spent about a year behind bars, they were released right in the courtroom. All of them ended up in jail after mass raids by armed security forces in 2019 in the Bryansk region. The security forces considered the usual communication of believers on religious topics to be a “criminal conspiracy”. However, during the court session it turned out that “information and files relevant to the criminal case were not found.” Due to the stress experienced, Vladimir Khokhlov suffered a hypertensive crisis, and Eduard Zhinzhikov and his wife lost an unborn child. In October 2020, the appeal upheld the verdict. In December 2021, this decision was upheld by the Court of Cassation.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Bryansk Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation they held talks in public places and living quarters with residents in order to promote the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses, involved other people in this activity by persuasion, and raised money
Court case number:
October 16, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
The First Department for the investigation of particularly important cases of the Investigative Department of the IC of Russia in Bryansk Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Новозыбковский городской суд Брянской области
Case History