Illustrative photo

Criminal trial

In Lipetsk, an investigator explained the "guilt" of three believers sent to a pre-trial detention center

Lipetsk Region

The details of the criminal case initiated on December 2, 2019 against three residents of Lipetsk — 57-year-old Viktor Bachurin, 58-year-old Alexander Kostrov and 41-year-old Artur Netreba — became known. Among the charges are holding "religious meetings", dealing with "issues of a religious nature" and "pastoral ministry".

The investigator of the Investigation Department (SO) of the FSB of Russia in the Lipetsk region, Y. Yakushev, considered all these purely religious actions "a grave crime against the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the state" and demanded that the believers be placed in a pre-trial detention center. The head of the SO S. Stepanov agreed with Yakushev, as a result of which three peaceful believers were thrown behind bars for 2 months.

On December 13, the regional court held an appeal hearing on the complaint of Aleksandr Kostrov, one of the three believers, for arrest. The trial attracted dozens of listeners, and court employees had to make additional benches. The believer took part in the meeting without leaving the pre-trial detention center, via video link. The court dismissed the complaint.

The case of the three believers from Lipetsk is not much different from the many similar cases against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. As in many of them, in the case of Kostrov, Bachurin and Netreba there are no victims, facts of committing "crimes" and even specific dates. At the same time, believers often spend many months in pre-trial detention.

Case of Netreba and Others in Lipetsk

Case history
In December 2019, three peaceful residents from Lipetsk - Artur Netreba, Alexandr Kostrov and Viktor Bachurin - ended up behind bars, where they spent almost a year. The FSB investigator considered conducting “religious meetings”, resolving “issues of a religious nature” and “pastoral service” “a grave crime against the constitutional order.” The believers were accused of participating in the activity of an extremist organization. In December 2020, the case went to court. The prosecutor requested 4 years in a penal colony and 8 months restriction of freedom for the believers. In November 2021, the court found them guilty and imposed a fine of 500 thousand rubles on all three, which was reduced to 300 thousand rubles, since the defendants spent almost a year in pre-trial detention. The court of appeal, and later the court of cassation, upheld this verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Lipetsk Region
Court case number:
December 2, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
СО УФСБ РФ по Липецкой области
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-83/2021 (1-501/2020)
Советский районный суд г. Липецка
Александр Устинов