Aleksandr Kabanov on the day of one of the court hearings

Unjust Verdicts

A Court in the Krasnoyarsk Territory Sentenced one of Jehovah's Witnesses, Aleksandr Kabanov, to a Suspended Sentence for Discussing the Bible

Krasnoyarsk Territory

On August 5, 2022, the judge of the Zelenogorsk City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Marina Petukhova, found 62-year-old Aleksandr Kabanov guilty of extremist activities and sentenced him to 2 years of suspended sentence.

At the end of December 2019, a series of searches were carried out in the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in the closed city of Zelenogorsk. Law enforcement officers interrogated 8 people, among whom were minors. The Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia opened a criminal case against Aleksandr Kabanov, the security forces detained him at his workplace. Later, his home was searched. He was arrested and placed in a temporary detention center for a day. The believer was charged under Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of the activities of an extremist organization). Later, the article of the charge was mitigated by Part 2 of Art. 282.2 (participation in the activities of an extremist organization).

According to investigators, Kabanov "organized... the activities of 24 groups of members of the banned organization and supervised their activities," which consisted of holding peaceful meetings where believers read and discussed the Bible. The security forces also considered it a crime to talk about God with those who do not share the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses.

The investigation went on for 1 year and 2 months, and on February 15, 2021, the case was submitted to the Zelenogorsk City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. After about 10 months of court hearings, instead of announcing the verdict, the court returned the case to the stage of judicial investigation.

As emphasized by the defense and Aleksandr Kabanov himself, there is not a single evidence in the case that he caused any harm to anyone. During the court hearings, the secret witness also did not confirm the charges against the defendant. Nevertheless, state prosecutor A.V. Ermakova asked the court to sentence the believer to 2.5 years in prison.

The verdict has not entered into force and can be appealed.

The case of Kabanov in Zelenogorsk

Case history
Siberian Aleksandr Kabanov faced criminal prosecution for believing in God at the end of December 2019. Then a series of searches took place in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Zelenogorsk. The believer spent a day behind bars, after which he was released. He was accused of “holding weekly religious meetings, distributing religious . . . the organization’s attitudes and the involvement of new adherents”, which the investigator of the Investigative Committee equated with participation in the activities of an extremist organization. In February 2021, the case went to the city court. In December of the same year, instead of announcing the verdict, the judge returned the case to the stage of judicial investigation. In August 2022, Aleksandr Kabanov was convicted of 2 years suspended, but the appeal returned the case to the prosecutor. In June 2023, the case was again submitted to the court of first instance. In January 2024, the prosecution requested 2 years and 6 months in prison for the believer, but the court returned the case to the prosecutor again.
Timeline

Persons in case

Criminal case

Region:
Krasnoyarsk Territory
Locality:
Zelenogorsk
Suspected of:
According to investigators, he "organized ... the activities of 24 groups of members of the banned organization and supervised their activities during weekly religious meetings, the dissemination of religious and ideological attitudes of the banned organization, as well as the involvement of new adherents"
Court case number:
11902040011000051
Initiated:
December 26, 2019
Current case stage:
Case returned to prosecutor
Investigating:
Joint Investigative Directorate for the Closed Administrative District of Zelenogorsk of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-4/2024 (1-129/2023; 1-1/2022; 1-67/2021)
Court:
Зеленогорский городской суд Красноярского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Доронин Станислав
Background