As Part of a New Criminal Case Investigation in Kostroma, Four Women Were Searched, the Oldest of Whom Is 72 Years OldKostroma Region
On March 15, 2022, in Kostroma, employees of the Investigative Committee conducted searches in the homes of four women, three of whom are of retirement age. A month earlier, a criminal case on extremism was initiated.
Law enforcement officers searched the apartments of 68- and 72-year-old believers (the latter’s garage was also searched). At the same time, the security forces behaved politely, in one case they apologized for the inconvenience before leaving. The women’s electronic devices were seized as well as the Bible, religious literature and personal notes.
Two other women, aged 31 and 63, who were also searched, are not Jehovah's Witnesses.
The searches were authorized by Marina Zaikina, a judge of the Dimitrovskiy District Court of the city of Kostroma. Aleksandr Sizov, an investigator for especially important cases of the Factory Interdistrict Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, petitioned for the searches. On February 17, he initiated a criminal case under Part 2 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. According to him, “an unidentified person at an unspecified time […] took an active part in the activities of a religious organization by systematically attending religious meetings ... studying and discussing articles of religious texts.”
Followers of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses are erroneously charged with crimes under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Often, even random persons mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses by mistake become victims of searches and detentions.
This is the third criminal case in the Kostroma region. Dmitriy Terebilov is serving a three-year term in a strict regime colony for his faith. Spouses Sergey and Valeriya Rayman received suspended sentences.