Unjust Verdicts

Ussuriysk-Based Sergey Melnikov Sentenced to Three Years of Probation for Adhering to Beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses

Primorye Territory

On February 3, 2022, Dmitriy Babushkin, a judge of the Ussuriysky District Court of the Primorsky Territory, found Sergey Melnikov guilty of participating in the activities of an extremist organization and sentenced him to 3 years suspended. The believer can appeal the verdict.

On June 5, 2019, Sergey Melnikov was detained in his own car while talking with Konstantin Belousov, who, as it turned out later, collaborated with the FSB. He asked Melnikov questions about the Bible, and recorded conversations on audio. According to investigators, this conversation and the fact that Melnikov, as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, continued to attend religious meetings of believers, was "a continuation of the illegal activities of a banned religious organization" and falls under Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Later, a search was conducted in Sergey's house.

Even at the investigation stage, the prosecutor's office returned materials for further investigation due to violations. But even after the case went to court, there were no victims, as well as no facts of causing damage to the individual, society or the state. Nevertheless, the prosecutor asked to sentence the believer to 4 years suspended.

Speaking in court , Melnikov pleaded not guilty to extremism and stressed that the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation did not ban the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. However, for more than 2 years, Sergey has been under criminal prosecution simply for his religion. During this time, he spent 122 days in a pre-trial detention center, then 145 days under house arrest, and since February last year he has been under house arrest.

The judge sentenced the believer to 3 years probation with a probation period of 2 years, as well as 8 months of restriction of freedom.

In Primorsky Territory, 39 people have already been prosecuted for their faith. 6 of them received sentences: 5 received a suspended sentence and 1 was acquitted.

The world community strongly condemns the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

Case of Melnikov in Ussuriysk

Case History
Intelligence officers gained access to telephone conversations of Sergey Melnikov from Ussuriysk, which he conducted from April to June 2018. Later, they introduced agent provocateur Konstantin Belousov, who asked Sergey to tell him about the Bible. In June 2019, the believer was detained in his own car. Investigator E. S. Marvanyuk charged him with organizing the activities of an extremist organization, and later investigator V. V. Golsky reclassified the charge to participation in the activities of an extremist organization. The believer spent 122 days in a pre-trial detention center, 145 days under house arrest and then was placed under recognizance agreement. The prosecutor returned the case for further investigation. In the summer of 2020, the case was submitted to the Ussuriysk District Court of Primorsky Krai. On February 3, 2022, Judge Dmitry Babushkin sentenced Sergey Melnikov to 3 years of suspended sentence. The appellate court upheld this verdict in May 2022. In December of the same year, the Court of Cassation of Ussuriysk upheld the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation he “took steps to organize the recruitment of new members aimed at continuing the illegal activities of the banned religious organization ‘Jehovah's Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia’” (with reference to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the liquidation of the religious organization “Jehovah's Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia” and its structural divisions)
Court case number:
June 5, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigation Department for Ussuriysk city of the Investigation Administration of the IC of Russia for Primorye Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-27/2021 (1-510/2020)
Уссурийский районный суд Приморского края
Дмитрий Бабушкин
Case History