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Criminal Investigation and Trial

Two More Jehovah's Witnesses Arrested in Bryansk Region

Bryansk Region

On October 24, 2019, in Novozybkov (Bryansk Region), a court sent two local Jehovah's Witnesses, 42-year-old Vladimir Khokhlov and 47-year-old Eduard Zhinzhikov, to the pre-trial detention center until December 3. They were detained the day before after searches in their homes. 2 women from Novozybkov are already in jail for their faith.

As of October 28, 2019, there are 44 Jehovah's Witnesses, including 7 women, in various prisons in Russia.

Olga Silaeva and Tatyana Shamsheva from Novozybsk were arrested during mass searches conducted in the Bryansk region on June 11, 2019, in the homes of local Jehovah's Witnesses and their relatives. Then, in total, in the city of Unecha, the city of Novozybkov, in the village. Klimovo and the village of Dobrik underwent 22 searches. Searches were carried out in families with small children, as well as in the home of an 83-year-old woman.

Many local believers report that they are being followed.

A huge number of Russian and international figures 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."

Vladimir Khokhlov and Eduard Zhinzhikov are in Detention Center No. 2 of the Federal Penitentiary Service for the Bryansk Region at the address: 9 Red Square Street, Novozybkov, Bryansk Region, 243000.

Update. On November 18, 2019, it became known that Vladimir Khokhlov and Eduard Zhinzhikov were transferred to Detention Center No. 1 of the Federal Penitentiary Service for the Bryansk Region at the address: 2 Sovetskaya Street, Bryansk, 241050

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