In the photo from left to right, from top to bottom: Konstantin Bazhenov, Alexey Budenchuk, Felix Makhammadiyev, Alexey Miretsky, Roman Gridasov, Gennady German

Criminal trial

Six peaceful Saratov residents were sentenced to prison only for their faith in Jehovah God. An appeal is scheduled for December 20 in the regional court

Saratov Region

On December 20, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., the Saratov Regional Court will consider an appeal against the verdict against six local residents sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for their faith. Court address: Saratov, st. Michurin, 85.

On September 19, 2019, the Leninsky District Court of Saratov sentenced Konstantin Bazhenov and Aleksey Budenchuk to 3 years and 6 months in prison, Felix Makhammadiev to 3 years, Roman Gridasov, Gennady German and Aleksey Miretsky to 2 years. Such a harsh sentence is based only on their religion as Jehovah's Witnesses.

Believers hope that the appellate court will overturn the absurd verdict for faith against innocent people. All convicts are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, not previously convicted, all have families. At the moment, they are in pre-trial detention center No. 1 in the Saratov region.

Case of Bazhenov and Others in Saratov

Case History
In September 2019, Judge Dmitry Larin immediately sent 6 Saratov residents to prison for a term of 2 to 3.5 years just for reading the Bible, singing songs and praying. Since 2017, security forces have been conducting covert surveillance of believers. In the summer of 2018, their homes were searched with banned literature planted. While the investigation was underway, they had to go to a pre-trial detention center, under house arrest and under recognizance not to leave. A year later, despite the absence of victims in the case, the believers were found guilty. Upon arrival at the Orenburg colony, 5 out of 6 convicted believers were beaten by the staff of the institution. Mahammadiev was hospitalized, and the rest were placed in a punishment cell for a while. Saratov prisoners of conscience have mastered various professions in prison. In May 2020, Mahammadiev and Bazhenov were stripped of their Russian citizenship and, after their release, deported from Russia. All 6 believers have already served their sentences. In September 2022, the cassation court dismissed the complaint, and the verdict and the appellate ruling were unchanged.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Saratov Region
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:
June 9, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Saratov Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Case History