In the photo: Alexander and Svetlana Polozov, Stepan and Ksenia Shevelev
An Element of Crime Is Absent — a Norilsk Court Returned to the Prosecutor the Case Against Believers Aleksandr Polozov and Stepan ShevelyovKrasnoyarsk Territory
On April 18, 2022, the judge of the Norilskiy City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory Natalia Kuzmenkova decided to return to the prosecutor the case against Aleksandr Polozov and Stepan Shevelev. According to the judge, their being Jehovah's Witnesses is not a crime.
The criminal prosecution of Shevelev and Polozov began in October 2019, when the special forces broke into a campsite in Norilsk, where men rested along with their friends. Two years later, the case against the believers was sent to the Norilskiy City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The prosecutor demanded the punishment in the form of 6 years of suspended sentence with a trial period of 5 years with a ban to occupy senior positions in public organizations.
Aleksandr Polozov spent 90 days in the detention center. "The most difficult thing was to part with my wife," said the believer. His arrest was especially painful for Aleksandr's mother: she had to call the ambulance on several occasions. In spite of the difficulties, Aleksandr preserves a positive attitude: "Even if the situation seems hopeless, [it is important] not to get discouraged."
The events had a negative effect on Stepan Shevelev's family as well. He and his spouse are grateful to fellow believers for their support. Stepan recalls: "At times the messages came when we were in the strongest fear and anxiety." They themselves also try to help those in need.
Already 26 Jehovah's Witnesses in the Krasnoyarsk Territory face criminal persecution for their faith. Two of them—Andrey Stupnikov and Anatoliy Gorbunov—were sentenced to 6 years in colony, Vitaliy Sukhov—by 6 years of suspended sentence, Anton Ostapenko—6 years and 3 months suspended sentence.