Aleksandr Kabanov on the day of one of the court hearings
A Court in the Krasnoyarsk Territory Sentenced one of Jehovah's Witnesses, Aleksandr Kabanov, to a Suspended Sentence for Discussing the BibleKrasnoyarsk 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.