Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Sunday operation against believers in Murmansk. The forces of the Investigative Committee were thrown into the investigation of the Bible readings

Murmansk Region

On December 29, 2019, law enforcement officers, including employees of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region, simultaneously invaded at least 4 apartments where Jehovah's Witnesses live. Searches and interrogations were conducted. A criminal case has been initiated.

It is known that criminal case No. 11902470002000277 has been initiated. It is being investigated by the Investigative Department for the city of Murmansk of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Murmansk Region. It is not yet clear, however, under what article and against whom this case was initiated.

Investigators I.O. Shash and N.I. Glebov were involved in the operation, among others.

Earlier, on April 18, 2018, in the city of Polyarny (Murmansk region), searches were conducted in the homes of local residents. 44-year-old Roman Markin and 61-year-old Viktor Trofimov were sent to a pre-trial detention center on suspicion of "organizing the activities of an extremist organization" (age indicated at the time of arrest). On May 24, 2019, they were served with an indictment, a final document in which investigators had to justify their attacks on peaceful law-abiding believers.

Update. According to updated information, on December 29, 5 searches took place in Murmansk, after which 13 people were taken to the building of the local Investigative Committee for interrogation. Only one of the detainees was provided with a copy of the interrogation protocol. At the place of search, the security forces seized literature and electronic media. A copy of the search protocol was also not provided to everyone. According to a press release from the Investigative Committee for the Murmansk Region, a new criminal case was initiated under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of activities of an extremist organization). The number and names of the defendants in the criminal case are still unknown.

Case of Omelchenko in Murmansk

Case history
At the end of December 2019, law enforcement officers in Murmansk raided the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Vitaliy Omelchenko for organizing the activities of an extremist organization merely because he said prayers and conducted worship services. A month later, the security forces detained the believer near his house and sent him to a temporary detention center; two days later the court released him but imposed a ban on certain actions. In early 2021, the case went to court. The prosecution appointed as experts Tarasov, Kotelnikov and Kryukova, who are known for their prejudiced attitude towards Jehovah’s Witnesses. In September 2022, the prosecutor requested six years in a general regime penal colony for the believer, but the court sentenced him to a fine of 580,000 rubles. The appellate court upheld that verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Murmansk Region
Suspected of:
"organized in residential premises, as well as in other places, the activities of a local religious organization by holding meetings ... personal ascension of sermons... involvement of new persons, as well as other actions of an organizational nature"
Court case number:
December 23, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
СО СУ СК России по Мурманской области
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-11/2022 (1-83/2021)
Октябрьский районный суд г. Мурманска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Роман Гирич