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Criminal trial

The court returned to the prosecutor's office a criminal case against 7 believers from Orenburg. Two of them spent almost 3 months in jail

Orenburg Region

On January 14, 2020, the judge of the Industrial District Court of Orenburg, Tatyana Gorbacheva, returned the criminal case against 7 believers to the prosecutor's office due to the vague nature of the charges and the lack of motives and goals of the alleged crime.

In its ruling, the court noted that "the indictment must indicate the motives and purposes of committing crimes," which is not the case. The court also noted that the indictment did not specify exactly how the defendants Logunov and Suvorov "coordinated the activities of the Orenburg LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses ... coordinated and coordinated their actions on the leadership of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses "Orenburg" with a higher organization, received religious literature, including extremist content, from the Religious Organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia". It is noted that it is often unclear from the prosecution which actions were committed by Logunov and which by Suvorov.

The criminal case against Vladimir Kochnev, Alexander Suvorov, Vladislav Kolbanov, Pavel Lekontsev, Sergey Logunov, Alexey Matveev and Nikolai Zhugin was initiated on May 14, 2018, after which Kochnev and Suvorov were thrown into a pre-trial detention center for 78 days. In October 2019, the investigation decided to change the articles of the charge.

Case of Kochnev and Others in Orenburg

Case History
In May 2018, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case against Vladimir Kochnev, Vladislav Kolbanov, Pavel Lekontsev, Sergey Logunov and Nikolay Zhugin. Believers from Orenburg were accused of organizing and financing an extremist organization’s activities and participating in it because of friendly meetings in a café. After the searches, three men were released on recognizance not to leave, and two were detained. Kochnev spent 76 days in pre-trial detention and 72 days under house arrest, while Kolbanov spent 149 days under house arrest. In December 2019, the case went to court, but a month later it was returned to the prosecutor’s office due to the vague nature of the charges. The retrial of the case by another judge began in February 2021. The accusation is based on the testimony of the agent V. Yudin. In August 2023, the judge sentenced the believers to suspended sentences: Logunov and Zhugin — to two and a half years, Kochnev — to two years and eight months, Lekontsev — to three years, and Kolbanov — to three and a half years. The appellate court upheld the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Orenburg Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as “organising and participating in 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:
May 14, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.3 (1), 282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-1/2023 (1-2/2022; 1-139/2021; 1-62/2020; 1-501/2019)
Промышленный районный суд г. Оренбурга
Диана Судоргина
Case History