Photo: Artem Gerasimov

Unjust Verdicts

In Crimea, One More Jehovah's Witness Convicted for His Faith. Artem Gerasimov Fined RUB 400,000


On March 5, 2020, the judge of the Yalta City Court, Vladimir Romanenko, sentenced Artyom Gerasimov to a fine of 400 thousand rubles for talking to people about God. The prosecution demanded 6.5 years in prison for him. The believer himself considers the sentence unfair.

Artyom Gerasimov was accused of organizing the activities of a banned organization (Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The criminal case was opened on March 15, 2019, a few days later a series of searches were carried out in Yalta, Gurzuf and Alupka.

"Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution, but the fact that law enforcement officers and courts will follow it is not guaranteed by anyone - such a conclusion suggests itself from the court's decision," Yaroslav Sivulsky, a representative of the European Association of Jehovah's Witnesses, comments on the situation. - The Russian government, including the Ministry of Justice, has repeatedly stated that the faith of Jehovah's Witnesses is not prohibited. However, this is the 30th conviction of Jehovah's Witnesses. How many more such sentences will it take to stop the persecution of peaceful, law-abiding citizens?"

On the same day, in Dzhankoy, the court sentenced Sergey Filatov to 6 years in a general regime colony. The third criminal case is being investigated in Sevastopol, the accused Viktor Stashevsky is under recognizance not to leave.

Case of Gerasimov in Yalta

Case History
In March 2019, Artyom Gerasimov, a cook by profession, was accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. So the investigation called the peaceful conversations of the believer on religious topics and reading the Bible in a close circle, seeing in this a “public danger.” The apartments of Gerasimov and other believers were searched. A year later, the Yalta City Court sentenced him to a fine of 400 thousand rubles, but on June 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of Crimea toughened the sentence, replacing the fine with 6 years in prison. After Artyom was sent to the colony, the FSB officers began to “develop” his friends and acquaintances.

Persons in case

Criminal case

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:
March 15, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia for the Republic of Crimea
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-17/2020 (1-376/2019)
Ялтинский городской суд Республики Крым
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Владимир Романенко
Case History